Los Angeles and two other county cities lost long-shot bids Tuesday to host the headquarters of a new state stem cell research institute authorized as part of the $3 billion stem cell bond voters approved last fall.
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine announced that bids from Emeryville, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco scored highest in a preliminary evaluation by the institute and the state Department of General Services and will go on for further consideration. Bids from Los Angeles, Alhambra, Long Beach, Richmond and San Jose failed to meet the minimum requirements.
In February, less than a month before the bid deadline, L.A. Mayor James Hahn announced that the city would put in a bid for the stem cell headquarters. Each of the four finalist cities had made similar announcements months earlier, right after the November election. However, industry insiders never gave the city much of a chance given the relative size of the county's biotech sector.
In L.A., city officials offered 17,000 square feet of office space at City National Plaza (formerly ARCO Plaza) at Fifth and Flower streets in downtown L.A. for the headquarters. The city also offered free access to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the institute's larger meetings, as well as $1 million in foundation grant funding to help support its administration. As an additional perk, the city offered the use of a private jet for institute board members and staff.
But, according to an institute document, L.A.'s bid failed to meet a requirement that the headquarters office space be located on two floors with an internal stairway connecting those floors. Also, the city failed to submit an offer that would be irrevocable for 75 days after March 16, the deadline for submissions.
Long Beach and Alhambra also were faulted for not meeting all of the institute's submission guidelines. The site selection committee will meet May 2 to name a top choice and a runner-up for the headquarters site.
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