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May 11, 2012

Logitech moves into Newark digs to boost collaboration

San Francisco Business Times

Logitech recently moved its main North American headquarters from Fremont to more modern buildings in Newark.

The company - which makes computer and gaming mice and accessories - has moved nearly 1,000 employees from its old offices on Kaiser Drive to Newark's Pacific Research Center. Logitech, which began its move in April, now occupies 263,000 square feet in two three-story buildings on the site's south campus. The company signed a 10-year lease.

The Pacific Research Center, owned by BioMed Realty Trust and represented by Kidder Mathews, covers nearly 1.4 million square feet. The campus consists of nine office/lab/R&D buildings and one manufacturing building. Logitech's new neighbors include Revance Therapeutics, StemCells Inc., Depomed, Synarc, Risk Management Solutions and Envia Systems.

Erik Bardman, Logitech's CFO and vice president of finance, spearheaded the decision to move the company's Silicon Valley campus, which he said took almost two years from planning to execution.

"The rationale for the move is fairly straightforward," said Bardman. "(The Pacific Research Center), it's the right type of modern, flexible facility for us now and for the next five to 10 years."

Bardman said that Logitech's old offices in Fremont were "a bit dated." The company had been there for 20 years, and the site had manufacturing before Logitech moved in. The Fremont space was carved up into smaller nooks and crannies, with old-style cubes that couldn't be adjusted. Many interior offices had no natural lighting.

By contrast, Pacific Research Center buildings were built in 1998 and renovated in 2008. Along with better natural lighting, the modular space offers greater flexibility for a more open and collaborative work environment.

Bardman was also pleased that the two buildings were only 15 yards apart, which meant that a lot of working teams could be put closer together; Logitech has a significant portion of its R&D in Silicon Valley. Previously, the company's employees were in four buildings. Employees at times had to brave rain and the traffic of Kaiser Drive to get from meeting to meeting.

In addition to the close-knit campus feel, Logitech employees share amenities such as a cafeteria, conference room space, a gym as well as game rooms and volleyball and basketball courts.

Jones Lang LaSalle brokers Steve Levere and Steve Clark, who headed the acquisition of the lease along with Erich Sengelmann, said the timing was very good for a move, pointing to the soft real estate market.

Logitech considered many locations before choosing Newark. Clark said they hunted up and down the 880 corridor. Bardman said that the cost per square foot was a good deal. But ultimately, the focus for the shift in location was centered around the employees.

"We wanted to impact our employees as little as possible, and the new location is about three quarters of a mile from the old place. It doesn't really hurt their commute," Bardman said. "If it had been in Fremont we would have gone with it, but it happened to work out well in Newark."

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