Irvine Co. Spends $19.5MM on Le Boulanger Site in Sunnyvale

By Meghan Hall

A well-established family business is entering a new era after the recent sale of its Sunnyvale headquarters. The Brunello family, who opened its first baker in the Bay Area in 1956, and who has since grown to 14 locations, has sold its headquarters as the company prepares for a move to Fresno. The property sold to Irvine Company, who paid $19.5 million, or about $575 per square foot for the site, according to public documents.

The Registry had first reported that the asset, located at 305 N. Mathilda Ave., hit the market in July of 2019, and that guidance pricing was about $20 million, or close to $590 per square foot. 

The family has owned the 33,911 square foot property since 1994. Almost all of the space is located on the first floor, which totals 33,000 square feet. The remaining 911 square feet were on the second floor. The building was first developed in 1974, and includes 136 parking spaces.

Paul Brunello established the first family bakery in Weed, Calif., in 1922. 34 years later, the Brunellos relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. The most recent iteration of the family business, the one that is known to many Sunnyvale residents as Le Boulanger, Inc., opened in Los Altos. Between 1983 and 1985, Le Boulanger won the Grand Prize for Best Sourdough French Bread at the San Francisco Fair and Exposition. 

However, the sale of its headquarters is ushering in a new era for the Brunello family, who has also sold off the brand itself. Athens Baking Company, based in Fresno, purchased the Le Boulanger brand and the Sunnyvale facility will close, with Le Boulanger operations moving to Richmond.

What Irvine Company plans to do with the Sunnyvale site is unclear. The property sits on 2.17 acres.

“Mathilda represents the unique opportunity to acquire a blank-slate renovation opportunity with the ability to appeal to a wide range of users in one of the premier submarkets in Silicon Valley,” states Newmark Knight Frank in the original property offering. The brokerage firm was hired in 2019 to act as the exclusive advisor for the sale of the property, which is being marketed not just as a renovation opportunity, but a site ideal for redevelopment. 

“The Property will be delivered vacant providing investors a true value-add opportunity within one of the most desired submarkets in Silicon Valley,” continues Newmark Knight Frank.

The asset is ideally located in the Peery Park submarket, and the area has no competitive research and development buildings with the ability to deliver an equivalent size requirement, according to previous reporting by The Registry.

Irvine Company has multiple other projects in Sunnyvale, including 275 Mathilda, a 134,765 square foot office high rise, and Pathline Park, a 685,000 square foot office complex under construction along North Mary Avenue. All together, Irvine Company owns 13 developments in Sunnyvale alone.

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