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Polycom strikes deal to move HQ from Pleasanton to San Jose

August 30, 2011 | William Zimmerman
By Geoge Avalos, Contra Costa Times via Mercury News.com

polycom new hq.jpgPolycom said Monday it will depart Pleasanton and move its headquarters to a North San Jose building that could accommodate about 650 employees as it rapidly expands.

The technology company said being in the center of Silicon Valley would be a more appropriate site for its headquarters as it grows.

"We want to have a world-class, state-of-the-art headquarters as we scale from a billion-dollar to a $3 billion company," said Ashley Goldsmith, Polycom's executive vice president of human resources. "We are moving to the epicenter of high tech."

While the relocation is welcome news for San Jose, Pleasanton officials believe the company's departure won't sting as much because of other growth in the East Bay city.

Were Polycom to move today, it would relocate more than 375 employees. Yet the six-story building it will take along Highway 237 could contain 600 to 700 workers.

The company's headquarters, technology demonstration center and other operations will be at the new San Jose site.

Polycom has become a dominant player in "unified communications" that blend video, audio and Internet-based communications in a seamless web. It is taking on major foes in the market, including its future San Jose neighbor, Cisco Systems (CSCO).

Over the year that ended in June,
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Polycom generated $1.36 billion in sales and $112.9 million in profit.

"It's great to have the jobs in San Jose," Mayor Chuck Reed said. "This is a great location for a world headquarters. This is going to be a good location for the employees." He cited amenities such as new retail, including a Target store, along with future hotels in the area.

The company leased about 214,000 square feet in the America Center on the north side of Highway 237 near Great America Parkway, according to Cornish & Carey, and Studley, the commercial realty firms that arranged the deal.

The one building that Polycom will occupy provides plenty of room for its current growth needs. But the America Center project could accommodate Polycom's future needs as it grows.

"There is ample room for expansion for Polycom and anyone else in the project," said Phil Mahoney, an executive vice president with Cornish & Carey.

Polycom's lease also extends a string of major property expansions by top-flight tech companies. Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Dell, VMware, Facebook, Microsoft, Motorola, Juniper Networks and Box.net have all gobbled up big chunks of office space this year.

"While pundits are wondering about second dip recessions, Silicon Valley companies are growing and going forward," Mahoney said.

Polycom will move about 175 employees out of Pleasanton and 200-plus more workers from an existing site in San Jose.

Despite the loss of jobs due to Polycom's departure, Pleasanton officials say their city is poised to capture more jobs and growth from other companies.

"Pleasanton maintains a healthy business environment, despite the recent economic challenges, and continues to be a prime location for commercial enterprise," said Pamela Ott, Pleasanton's economic development manager. "Across industry sectors Pleasanton is seeing signs of growth," Ott said.

Patelco Credit Union earlier this year moved its headquarters to Pleasanton from San Francisco, along with 180 jobs. Callidus Software moved out of San Jose into Pleasanton last year.

And Oakland-based Clorox will be moving a significant part of its operations to Pleasanton by the end of this year, bringing 500 to 700 employees to the Tri-Valley.

"There are several high-profile projects under construction, including a Safeway-anchored retail center, a senior living community at Staples Ranch and an innovation center to complement Clorox's campus in Pleasanton," Ott said.

Polycom officials said the company has prospered in Pleasanton, but that it was time to move on to a more natural base of operations.

"Pleasanton has been great, but as we have grown it made sense to consolidate all of our sites into one," Goldsmith said. "Silicon Valley was just the right choice for us. It's a dynamic, innovative place."







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