Big tech company to move HQ from Sunnyvale to San Jose
Tech company Rambus Inc. is set to move from its longtime home in Sunnyvale to San Jose's Alviso area. Image Credit: Grant Zhao, Newmark Knight Frank

    Rambus Inc. is moving its headquarters from its longtime home in Sunnyvale to North San Jose, making it the latest in a long list of tech companies to look southward for office space as commercial vacancy rates tighten along the Peninsula and San Jose continues to grow.

    The longtime Silicon Valley tech company, which makes and licenses chip interface technology, is set to move next summer into 90,000 square feet, or about half of the six-story building at 4453 North First St. in San Jose’s Alviso area, where it will employ engineering, marketing and administrative workers. The company confirmed this week that the lease had been signed and its headquarters would move southward.

    “We were drawn to the new facility for the value it provided, which will enable us to provide a more modern workspace for our employees who work at HQ,” a Rambus spokesperson said in an email to Spotlight Thursday morning

    The company’s new lease will last more than 10 years, expiring in 2030, according to documents filed with the Securities Exchange Commission Wednesday. The company will also have an option to extend the lease for another five years, the document shows.

    The office building is part of a larger, multi-phase development called 237 @ First, currently being developed by Los Gatos-based South Bay Development in a growing part of North San Jose, where a new Top Golf is currently under construction.

    “We think [Rambus is] a great addition to the project in a market that is really becoming a much better place with top golf under construction, a new hotel and retail amenities,” said Mark Regoli, a partner at South Bay Development.

    Indeed, San Jose’s north side has seen unprecedented attention and investment in the past couple years. This year, HPE moved its headquarters into a shiny new office building in San Jose’s Alviso area, shifting away from its longtime home in Palo Alto. Cybersecurity company McAfee also signed a large lease in the same complex, called America Center, this year.

    Nearby, Google has been buying up existing office buildings and pre-leasing multiple yet-to-be built offices in long-approved development projects. Meanwhile, San Jose city officials are mulling options to unlock development allowances for developers who want to build more housing in the fast-growing part of the city.

    Though Google tends to grab major attention when it comes to leasing or buying real estate, Anna Mcquillan Rose, vice president at real estate brokerage Transwestern, said she doesn’t attribute the Rambus’ lease nor North San Jose’s growth to the Mountain View-based tech titan’s interest in the area.

    “It probably just ticked off all the boxes that Rambus was waiting for, and it is a beautiful campus,” she said of the 237 @ First buildings. “North San Jose has become the in-place to be, there has just been so much migration.”

    Another factor potentially drawing companies to take a closer look at San Jose, in addition to lease costs that are lower than many neighbors to the north, may be housing, Phil Mahoney, executive vice chairman for Newmark Knight Frank said.

    “In certain situations, these companies also find themselves moving closer to the housing of their employees, which increasingly is south of San Jose and east of San Jose as the Peninsula just becomes so expensive and so scarce for housing,” he said.

    Indeed, a spokesperson for Rambus told Spotlight both amenities and employee housing played a part in its decision to move southward.

    “Rambus’ new headquarters also will be more centrally located for commuters, and provides many attractive amenities in the surrounding neighborhood,” the spokesperson said.

    The first six-story building in the 237 @ First campus was leased last year by fuel cell company Bloom Energy and Spaces, a coworking concept by flexible workspace giant Regus. South Bay Development has approval from the city of San Jose to build up to 614,800 square feet across four buildings on a 28.5-acre property.

    Currently, Rambus is headquartered in Sunnyvale’s Moffett Park in an office complex called Moffett Towers. That approximately 125,000-square-foot lease in Sunnyvale is set to expire in June next year.

    Moffett Towers was developed by San Francisco-based Jay Paul Co., which has spent upwards of $670 million investing in San Jose properties over the past year and is planning a massive redevelopment in the heart of the city’s downtown.

    In Sunnyvale, Jay Paul’s Moffett Park developments have been scooped up my major tech titans like Facebook, Google and Amazon as new buildings come online and existing lease agreements — like Rambus’ — begin to expire in the company’s earliest buildings in the business district.

    Contact Janice Bitters at [email protected] or follow @JaniceBitters on Twitter.

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