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The property consists of 623,000 square feet (57,900 m2) of developed building area, and is situated in proximity to the Port of Redwood City.(Cutland, 2005); the property is classified as Class A office space and is constructed as a series of separate buildings. The original lands of the Seaport Centre were used as salt evaporation ponds on tidal lands of the San Francisco Bay, a land use that started sometime prior to 1940. As of 2002 leasing rates at Seaport Centre were in the range of $27 per square foot per annum.(Ginsburg, 2002) In 2005, Slough Estates, a United Kingdom-based REIT, purchased the entirety of Seaport Centre to develop it as a biotechnology research center to compete with the existing biotech hubs in Silicon Valley and South San Francisco.
Aerial photographic history
Due to the large scale of this area and its historical lack of accessibility, the area history can be revealed well with aerial photographic records. In 1989, the firm of Earth Metrics Incorporated conducted a review of historic aerial photographs dating back to 1956.(Earth Metrics, 1989) The Seaport Centre site and its environs, as of the 1956 aerial stereo photo, were essentially undeveloped, although extensive salt evaporation ponds were evident on site. Redwood City Planning Department records confirm that the site was used for salt evaporation since sometime prior to World War II.
Analysis of five sets of time staged stereo pairs of aerial photos reveal that the Seaport Centre site remained undeveloped until 1982; up until that time, city records show that the site was zoned as "Tidal Plain", a designation not allowing urban development. Area land use gradually changed from 1956 until 1982, in the form of gradual building development in the local area. As early as 1956 a rail spur is evident, which served the loading of raw sea salt for export from the area. No agricultural history is associated with the site, other than the salt harvesting.
Since development of Seaport Centre in the early 1980s there has been a consistent trend of the property's use as a research and development hub for the biotech industry. In a 1989 tenant survey, some of the principal tenants present were: Vascualar Interventions Inc., Genelabs Incorporated, Precision Images Inc., Invitron, Charles Evans Inc., ICT Corporation, Resound Incorporated, Ideon Corporation, Cygnus Research Corp, Color Prep, Aurora Systems Inc., Abekus Video Systems Inc., Personics Inc., Instor Corporation and Visucom, Inc.
A number of these early firms utilized a variety of hazardous materials in their normal processes. These substances included a variety of toxic solvents and other organic chemicals such as acetone, benzene, methyl ethyl ketone and toluene. Use of such chemicals on site is considered a risk, since the brackish groundwater at the Seaport Centre is shallow. ,
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- T.J.Conomos, Circulation of San Francisco Bay Waters, in "San Francisco Bay: The Urbanized Estuary", ed. T.J. Conomos, pp 47–84 (1979)
- Laura Cutland, Silicon Valley Business Journal, July 8, 2005
- Earth Metrics Incorporated, Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, Seaport Centre, Redwood City, California, published in San Mateo, California, May 24, 1989.
- Meteorological Study at Port of Redwood City 1992-1994
- Steve Ginsburg, San Francisco Business Times, February 22, 2002