Despite terse reaction from Mayor Bobby Shiver, the biotech company Agensys is closing on the fast approaching deadline to secure the almost 154,000 square-foot building at 1800 Stewart Street in Santa Monica.
At the Sept 14 meeting of Santa Monica City Council, Mayor Shriver chastised Agensys administrators and representatives regarding the incentives offered to the City in the agreements, bemoaning the group for not offering any new Santa Monica jobs and in exchange only offering three-month internships. Shriver called the decision to allow the group to take over the current Lionstone company lease instead of developing the City land an “opportunity we are forgoing tonight forever.”
Despite the grave warning, other City Council members supported the project and explained the City of Santa Monica does not lose any money by approving the development. Council member Gleam Davis cited the limited opportunity for jobs thanks to the technical expertise needed to work in the research facility. Council members Pam O’Connor and Richard Bloom praised the coveted Santa Monica-based group.
At last weeks meeting the council decided to continue discussion for the cancer research company’s development agreement until the Sept 28 meeting, pushing talks until the final deadline. Bicycle advocates have disapproved of the plans to forgo a bike path on the grounds, a topic of hot debate up which fizzled the Tuesday meeting.
Council member Kevin McKeown countered with a proposed $20,000 in additional funding may be required from Agensys in order to study an alternate bike path that connects to Bergamot Station to an envisioned city-wide network of paths. Agensys has already agreed to pay over $70,000 to improve bike access to Bergamot Station and to include a pedestrian walkway across the property.