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By Tim Hunt

Workday committed to growing in Pleasanton

Uploaded: Aug 15, 2019

ohn Paul Bruno heads up global real estate for Workday and made it clear that the company will continue to invest in Pleasanton while speaking at the San Francisco Business Times "State of the Tri-Valley" event in San Ramon last month.

He pointed out Workday, unlike companies headquartered on the Peninsula or in the South Bay, does not offer luxury commuter buses for its workforce. If you want to see a daily sample, just check out the off-track betting parking lot at the Alameda County Fairgrounds around 7:30 a.m. any weekday.

Instead of private buses, Workday relies on BART with a stop a short stroll from its new headquarters building next to Stoneridge Mall. The company also joint ventured with the city and BART to build a police substation next to the West Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.

Bruno said Workday has 12,000 employees worldwide, with 45% (5,000) working in Pleasanton. That's because its strategic location allows it to recruit and retain the highly skilled technical workforce.

The BART line offers a particular advantage -- it becomes an easy counter-commute for younger professionals who want to live in San Francisco or Oakland. As their lives progress and they get married and want to start a family, then the family-friendly Tri-Valley communities are ideal to raise kids with quality schools and a high quality of life.

With the company continuing to grow in Pleasanton, that means more space. The headquarters, Pleasanton's tallest building at six stories, opened this spring and provided 410,000 square feet. It has about 1.2 million square feet of office space in Pleasanton.

In his most recent market update, Mark Triska, executive vice president of Colliers International, wrote that Workday has Pleasanton Plaza under contract with "rumors of another 400,000 square feet of office buildings." That's home to the JC Penney Home Store and other retailers. Only Cost Plus and Office Depot have done well in that center. In contrast to other malls where nearby retail has performed well, the Stoneridge area, even before the BART station opened, has always attracted office buildings and medical facilities.

Repurposing that shopping center as an office building will complement the Simon company's plans for redoing the former Sears building by tearing it and the adjacent parking structure down and replacing them with a multi-use space including a movie theater, a grocery store, a lifestyle health club and restaurants. After Simon purchased the mall from the original builder/operator, Taubman, it added The Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang's as quality restaurant offerings.

As the mall continues to evolve, don't be surprised if the next changes are high-density housing in the sprawling parking lots. There's already one high-density apartment complex tucked between I-680 and Stoneridge Mall Road. The plans for the rebuilding of the Sears' site includes offerings (grocery store and health club) that would serve residential well.

Some other snapshots from the Tri-Valley-focused event:

* Brandon Cardwell, executive director of incubators I-Gate and the Switch in downtown Livermore, pointed out how dramatically venture capital investment into Tri-Valley companies has soared.

From 2000-2011, it was estimated at between $700-800 million. In the last seven years, it's $2.5 billion. That speaks to the innovative ecosystem here that is led by life sciences, enterprise software and advanced manufacturing. With the workforce of San Joaquin County available and the lower cost of manufacturing space, it's an ideal place to locate if your company is making a physical product.

That's why life science leaders, 10x Genomics and Unchained Labs, both make their sophisticated equipment here as does Lam Research with the machines that manufacture what drives your laptop or mobile phone.

* Michelle Hodge, a newcomer to 10x Genomics, described just how deeply the company's gene-sequencing equipment has penetrated the life science industry. She reported that 14 of the 15 biggest pharmaceutical companies use 10x machines as do 93 of the top 100 research universities.

With the company, which surpassed the unicorn mark with a valuation of more than $1 billion as a private firm earlier this year, continuing to grow rapidly, it will continue to need more real estate. The employee count has grown 50% to 60% annually for the last three years. This for a company that was founded in 2012.

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