Big tech made a big splash on the Central Coast in 2019, with three mega-cap heavyweights with a combined market capitalization north of $3 trillion, all landing huge deals and becoming an even larger part of the tri-county business scene.
The colossal deals started to materialize in the fourth quarter of 2019, when LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft (MSFT), locked up its Carpinteria location when it bought the 6140 Via Real property for $30.4 million.
the 87,000-square-foot South Coast office space sits on 18 acres and was being leased by LinkedIn after it took over operations of the former Lynda.com headquarters. The owner-user sale has been trending as of late, with tech firms such as LinkedIn taking advantage of low interest rates, and hedging real estate acquisitions in case of a potential economic downturn, according to a third quarter report released by Radius, the commercial real estate firm that brokered the deal.
The sale was a significant sign the Sunnyvale-based professional networking company will make Carpinteria its home for the long haul.
“LinkedIn expects to be in Carpinteria for the long run,” Steve Breiner, senior director of real estate at LinkedIn, told the Business Times in an email at the time of the deal. “It makes sense for us to be a long-term owner of this site.”
A few weeks later, Mountain View-based internet titan Google (GOOG) was published in an Oct. 23 scientific journal Nature, following its breakthrough in quantum computing. Google, in partnership with UC Santa Barbara, developed a computer that can perform a computation in 200 seconds that would take the fastest supercomputers about 10,000 years. It was conducted using a quantum chip it developed in-house at its lab in Goleta.
Google had plans to move into a larger facility with 68,000 square feet of commercial space on Hollister Avenue, and announced Sept. 2 that it was launching a hardware initiative in conjunction with UCSB to design new quantum information processors.
As 2019 was winding down, Amazon (AMZN), the one-time online book retailer turned consumer conglomerate was gearing up for its Santa Barbara opening. Amazon first took over the State Street lease (also handled by Radius), which was previously occupied by Saks Fifth Avenue, back in 2018, and spent the year and some change renovating the 47,000-square-foot space. The company officially opened the location on Jan. 6.
Back in 2016, Amazon acquired data analytics and search engine startup Graphiq, and the new State Street building now houses the more than 100 employees it inherited in the Graphiq deal.
Amazon said it plans to add an additional 100 to 200 employees, and the city of Santa Barbara is hoping the big tech company can rejuvenate State Street’s struggling retail business.
“I think the whole downtown benefits,” said Mark Aguilar, a business liaison for the city. “Maybe this is a small step back to the balance that re-strengthens our downtown’s balance,” he said.
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