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Real Estate

Napa County fails to find a pharmaceutical tenant for South Campus

Dey Labs/Napa County Health and Human Services site

After trying for more than a year, Napa County is no longer seeking a pharmaceutical manufacturing tenant for a building on the former Dey Labs property. Napa is too far from the labor supply that such tenants would need, officials were told.

Napa County has ended its quest to a bring a pharmaceutical company to a sprawling, mostly vacant building it owns at the former Dey Labs property in a south Napa business park.

The county Board of Supervisors last week voted to take what the county calls “Building Four” in its South Campus off the market. Instead of leasing it to some biotech giant such as Genentech or Bio-Rad, the county will use it for storage and other purposes.

“We had it on the market for about a year and a half,” county Community and Intergovernmental Affairs Director Larry Florin said. “It’s a very special building as to the way it’s equipped.”

Building Four, containing about 63,000 square feet, has a chemistry laboratory, a rated bio-safety laboratory and “clean room” with low levels of dust and other environmental pollutants where pharmaceuticals can be manufactured. It has offices, conference rooms and a cafeteria.

But Florin said the county hasn’t been able to attract a pharmaceutical company, perhaps because it can’t supply the specialized workforce.

Dey Labs opened the 25-acre, four-building campus in Napa Valley Commons in 1988, became Mylan Specialty in 2007 and produced respiratory and nasal pharmaceutical products in Napa until 2013. Napa County bought the property for $25 million in 2013.

Napa County plans to move its Health and Human Services Agency from Old Sonoma Road to what it calls its South Campus this summer. Someday, county administrative offices may also be located there in other buildings.

The county saw Building Four as being available for a pharmaceutical company, given its specialized nature. Bill Kampton of Colliers International, which handles the leasing effort for the county, said the building is capable of handling manufacturing from the first to last steps.

Kampton told county planning commissioners on Feb. 3 that the county was looking to lease out Building Four for about $2 a square foot, which is cheap. He called it a turnkey project where a pharmaceutical company could come in, spend a million dollars and be ready to manufacture a pharmaceutical product.

But pharmaceutical companies want to be in areas where other such companies exist, in the “brain hub” where they can trade chemists and biologists, he said. They find Napa County “kind of out of the way.”

A startup company called Brazos Bridge Pharmaceuticals signed a lease with the county last summer to come to Building Four. That effort didn’t work out. The lease gave Brazos Bridge a cancellation option that it exercised in February.

Building Four will now be used by the county. The county will move its records there, saving the $105,000 annually it now spends to lease a warehouse for that purpose. It will also store things there that it now stores on its Water Street corporation yard, which is targeted to be sold as surplus property.

State Sen. Lois Wolk and Rep. Mike Thompson use a small part of Building Four for their district offices.

Also last week, the county approved a master lease agreement with DBL 112 LLC for what it calls Buildings 1A and 3 at the South Campus. DBL is to make tenant improvements, identify tenants and sublease the space.

The agreement calls for the county to waive rental fees through 2017 in consideration of the tenant improvements. It will collect a $149,492 security deposit and begin collecting $49,492 monthly rent in January 2018.

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.

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