E’ville Biz Digest: Towers Property Facing Default; Upside Pausing Expansion; Covariant Robotics Profiled; Gritstone Layoffs

1 min read

This digest of local Emeryville business stories includes layoffs at Gritstone, Upside Foods pausing expansion, the “imminent default” of the Towers Property by their owner and an Emeryville Robotics company profiled in the New York Times.

(Please note that some stories may be behind a paywall).

Photo: Balazs Gardi

How the A.I. That Drives ChatGPT Will Move Into the Physical World

By Cade Metz

Covariant, a robotics company headquartered in Emeryville, Calif., is creating ways for robots to pick up, move and sort items as they are shuttled through warehouses and distribution centers. Its goal is to help robots gain an understanding of what is going on around them and decide what they should do next.

Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. To Acquire United Grocery Outlet

Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. today announced that it has agreed to acquire United Grocery Outlet (“UGO”), an extreme value, discount grocery retailer operating throughout the Southeastern United States, from affiliates of Gen Cap America, Inc. and current and former UGO management. With 40 stores and a distribution center, the acquisition of UGO will expand Grocery Outlet’s presence into Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and Virginia.


Photo Illustration: Wired Staff; Getty Images: Christie Hemm Klok

The Leading Lab-Grown-Meat Company Just Paused a Major Expansion

By Cade Metz

In September 2023, Upside Foods announced its plans to open a large cultivated-meat plant in Glenview, Illinois. The 187,000-square-foot plant was slated to have an initial capacity of millions of pounds of bioreactor-brewed meat per year, which would make it one of the largest planned factories in the nascent cultivated-meat industry. The company nicknamed the facility Rubicon, signifying “a point of no return” for cultivated-meat production.

Photo: Todd Johnson

Domino effect around next-generation Covid vaccine trial pushes Gritstone to cut 40% of staff

By Ron Leuty

Gritstone Bio Inc. will cut 94 jobs — or 40% of its workforce — after the delay of a Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial led to a domino effect stopping a payout the Emeryville company had hoped to receive this quarter.

Triplebar Announces Partnership with FrieslandCampina Ingredients on Lactoferrin

Triplebar Bio Inc., a global biotech partner in driving sustainable food production, and its strategic partner, FrieslandCampina Ingredients, a global leader in proteins and prebiotics, have announced a breakthrough in lactoferrin production. By harnessing innovative precision fermentation technology, they aim to enhance supply capacities to meet the increasing global demand.

KBS Realty-managed fund faces deadline to avoid default on office loan

By Sarah Klearman

KBS Real Estate Investment Trust III must raise $100 million in new funding by mid-July or risk defaulting on a loan tied to a six-building office portfolio that includes two prominent Bay Area office properties.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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