Samsung To Bring 1,000 Workers To Mountain View

By Jon Peterson

Samsung Information Systems America Inc. plans to have as many as 1,000 employees at a new high-profile Mountain View campus fronting U.S. 101, according to developers.

San Francisco-based TMG Partners expects to break ground in the middle of next year on the build-to-suit office campus it will construct for the wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

TMG plans to move forward immediately to complete entitlements for two, six-story office buildings of 192,500 square-feet each, including two five- to six-story parking structures at the 8.5-acre Cypress Business Park at 625-685 Clyde Ave.

Samsung Information Systems America is engaged solely in research and development, according to Samsung Electronics’ 2011 annual report.

The Mountain View location is considered an expansion and relocation from SISA’s current operation at 75 W. Plumeria Drive in North San Jose, developers said. SISA identifies the Plumeria location as its headquarters on its Web site.

“I think it was important for them to have the freeway visibility of being near the highway 101 and 237 intersection. There is also the benefit of being near mass transportation,” said TMG Chief Executive Michael Covarrubias.

It is the second major Silicon Valley expansion that the global semiconductor, telecommunications and media company has announced in the last 45 days.

Last month, Samsung Semiconductor Inc. said the company was entering into a memorandum of understanding with the city of San Jose, the state of California and Santa Clara County to expand an existing 300,000 square-foot campus in North San Jose at 3655 N. First St.

Samsung Semiconductor is also a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics; it is engaged in the sale of electronic devices, according to the 2011 Samsung annual report. Samsung provided no details about its existing or prospective employee counts at the North San Jose site or about the magnitude of anticipated facility growth. A spokeswoman for the company said Sept. 20 she had no updates to the previous announcement.

TMG and its investment partner, San Francisco-based Farallon Capital, have been joint owners of the Mountain View property since 1999, said Covarrubias. Farallon, which manages capital for a variety of institutions including college endowments, charitable foundations and high-net worth individuals, did not comment for this story.

“We have been through a lot of ideas of what do with it over the years,” Covarrubias said. “Earlier this year we made the decision to put the property on the market for sale, and we even had some offers. This all changed once Samsung came out with its RFP looking for a new site to expand into.”

The site is within walking distance to two light-rail stations whose trains connect directly to the extremely popular downtown Mountain View Caltrain stop.

SISA has signed a 15-year lease to occupy the project, and as part of the contract, will have the option to purchase the property. No details on this part of the transaction were released.

Ellis M. Berns, assistant community development director and economic development manager for the city of Mountain View, said the community is gratified that Samsung had selected the city for its move and expansion. “It is another large prestigious firm in the city adding jobs and taking advantage of being in Mountain View and the transportation connections,” he said.

Mountain View is most closely tied to Google Inc., the search engine, advertising and operating-system company, which has its headquarters there. Google has expanded rapidly in the recent upturn. It now owns and occupies well more than half of the office and research and development square footage in Mountain View’s North Bay Shore industrial district. The city council recently turned away Google’s request to be allowed to build employee housing near its campus.

The Cypress Business Park as it stands now totals 120,000 square feet, according to the TMG Web site. The office/R&D facility is now 100 percent leased. TMG would not release the names of any of the existing tenants. The leases for these tenants will be expiring soon.

“From our perspective we have been down the road before on the entitlement process. We had worked with the city on entitlements in 2006 through 2008 for two four-story buildings and then decided not to move forward with the project. We feel good about going through the process at this time,” says Ken Dupee, a partner with TMG and the project manager on the build-to-suit.