No winning bidder as Menlo Park USGS campus auction closes | September 9, 2022 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - September 9, 2022

No winning bidder as Menlo Park USGS campus auction closes

$120M was set as the minimum bid for the 17-acre campus on Middlefield Road

by Cameron Rebosio

Bidding closed Aug. 30 on the auction for the 17-acre United States Geological Survey (USGS) campus in Menlo Park without a buyer.

The USGS campus is owned by the General Services Administration (GSA), the government agency that serves as a property manager for federal office buildings.

The GSA is gathering market research and will re-evaluate the sale's terms, Andra Higgs, a Region 9 Public Affairs Officer, said in an email. Information is being gathered from interested parties, who include developers, investors, nonprofit organizations, corporations and individuals, according to Higgs.

The federal property at 345 Middlefield Road in the Linfield Oaks neighborhood, dubbed Rockaway Grove, is over 17 acres and includes many buildings and laboratories, as well as the GeoKids daycare. The minimum bid on the federal auction site was set at $120 million and required a $750,000 deposit in order to participate.

The USGS team has been gradually relocating from Menlo Park to Mountain View and plan to vacate the laboratories and offices by fall 2023 according to Jane Reid, deputy director of regions 8 and 10 which includes California. Moving the agency's West Coast science center to the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field was framed as largely a financial decision when it was announced in 2016, although research benefits were cited as well.

The GSA is obligated under federal law to charge market-rate rent for its properties, even in pricey locales such as the Bay Area. In 2016, annual rent for the campus was $7.5 million and was expected to go up significantly when the 10-year lease ended in late 2017.

When it changes hands to a private owner, it will be up to the Menlo Park City Council to decide what kind of redevelopment to allow at the site. In the council's most recent discussions on the site in December, council members were considering designating portions of the site as a public middle school and as high-density housing. It's currently zoned for public facilities.

The USGS campus is included in the city's Housing Element plan as a potential development site, and Assistant Community Development Director Deanna Chow said that there have been inquiries to the city regarding the property.

More information on the sale will be posted online as information becomes available.

Email Staff Writer Cameron Rebosio at [email protected]


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.