2012 Year in Review
More than a dozen North Bay companies undertook major expansions or moves in 2012.
TricorBraun WinePak, the wine division of St. Louis-based packaging supplier TricorBraun, expanded its Northern California distribution facility in a move to a 126,200-square-foot automated distribution facility at 2280 Cordelia Rd. in Fairfield in early January.
That was about the same time TricorBraun WinePak acquired Santa Rosa-based Trilogy Glass & Packaging, making the North Bay’s largest wine packaging supplier, with 127 employees.
Petaluma-based Raydiance, developer of next-generation laser technology, leased a vacant 42,000-square-foot former Cisco Systems research-and-development buidling at 1450 N. McDowell Blvd., and expanded from about half that space at 2199 S. McDowell in spring.
Enphase Energy, developer of solar electricity panel microinverters, expanded its Petaluma headquarters offices to 96,000 square feet under 10-year lease in two of three former Alcatel-Lucent buildings on North McDowell Boulevard, now called Sequoia Center. The expansion came around the time of the company’s initial public offering of stock on March 30.
General Dynamics nearly doubled the size of its Healdsburg Operations Facility to accommodate rapidly growing workforce and production needs. In spring the company leased 30,000 square feet at 190 Foss Creek Cir. to convert 20,000 square feet of storage space for manufacturing, half of which will be a class 100,000 clean room. The rest became offices.
The Healdsburg workforce grew from 75 to 150 and the existing 37,000-square-foot facility down the street can’t accommodate them. The company planned to hire another 40 by year-end.
The Langer family of Southern California, who acquired a sparkling juice bottling plant in Healdsburg in 2009, is making a multimillion-dollar bet on Sonoma County with a more than four-fold larger bottling plant with three times as much production capacity to support its new Langers of Sonoma brand.
An affiliate of City of Industry-based Langer Juice Co. on Jan. 11 purchased a 54,500-square-foot former JSDU building at 2789 Northpoint Pkwy. in southwest Santa Rosa for $2.81 million and intended to relocate over summer. The total investment in the new facility is around $3 million.
Anette’s Chocolates, the oldest operating chocolate producer in Napa Valley, plans to greatly increase its capacity to make wholesale confections by opening a second local factory. Proprietors Anette Yazidi, the company namesake, brother Brent Madsen and his wife, Mary Stornetta, in April leased a 15,000-square-foot industrial space in Napa Valley Gateway Business Park in south Napa as a second confections kitchen.
The new facility would be double the size of the factory and store downtown at 1321 Main St. Larger-scale production going to the new plant, while specialty creations would remain the domain of the downtown plant. The project was completed in the fall.
Marmot Mountain, a 38-year-old maker of premium outdoor gear for serious expeditions and sports apparel for technical and everyday use, doubled the size of its headquarters offices and expanded by one-third its local production plant in a move from Santa Rosa to Rohnert Park over the summer.
In April, Marmot signed a 10-year lease for 43,000 square feet in more than one-third of the landmark 139,000-square-foot former Next Level Communications office building at 5789 State Farm Dr. in Rohnert Park, mostly empty since Next Level relocated a few years ago. Marmot also leased 15,000 square feet of manufacturing and storage space in an adjacent building at 6085 State Farm.
At the time of the move, Marmot had 124 employees in Santa Rosa and wants to hire 40 more over the next three years in sales and marketing, operations and e-commerce.
Increasing sales of wine plus greater demand for direct shipments sent Sonoma-based fulfillment services provider Wineshipping packing for a major expansion over the summer to Napa Valley. The 14-year-old company spent millions of dollars on conveyors, warehouse racking and high-tech automation in a 150,000-square-foot warehouse space subleased from Constellation Brands at 80 Technology Ct. in south Napa. Wineshipping expanded the new facility to 208,000 square feet.
Novato-based BioMarin Pharmaceutical signed a 10-year lease for 120,338 square feet in all of 770 Lindaro St. and two floors of 790 Lindaro at San Rafael Corporate Center. BioMarin relocated a number of employees from its Bel Marin Keys headquarters plant to downtown San Rafael, opening in San Rafael with 300 employees in early September.
After 17 years of making environmentally and health- conscious personal care products in Marin County, EO Products seriously considered the better economics of taking the 40-person company to the East Bay, but the manufacturer chose to stay in Marin after an opportunity arose to convert a former Industrial Light & Magic sound stage to a much larger production plant plus local and regional economic boosters and a state legislator jumped in to help navigate permit processes.
EO Products in mid-May signed a 10-year lease for a 40,000-square-foot industrial building at 90 Windward Way in San Rafael. It’s double the size of the existing plant in Corte Madera. With its high-efficiency water system, cutting use by 80 percent, EO secured a go-ahead from the San Rafael Sanitation District and Marin Municipal Water District, opening in the new site in early October.
2K, a video-game publishing label of New York-based Take-Two Interactive Software, expanded its 64,000-square-foot Novato headquarters and two development studios by 30 percent in November. One of Take-Two’s two publishing labels, 2K already had more than 300 employees filling all of Hangar 10 at the Hamilton Landing office complex in southeast Novato and is actively hiring.
The company in early September signed a three-and-a-half-year lease for 19,600 square feet of former Birkenstock space in a part of a second hangar at the Hamilton Landing office complex.
Birkenstock USA, distributor of the iconic German-made leather and cork–soled sandals and other footwear, moved back to 37,000 square feet of offices at the shuttered Birkenstock distribution center in north Novato this fall. The domestic distributor for Birkenstock Orthopädie GmbH & Co. in early 2007 moved its 65 employees from the 93-acre north Novato campus at 8171 Redwood Blvd. to nearly 15,000 square feet of office space at the Hamilton Landing.
Santa Monica-based game software maker Activision Blizzard expanded its Novato-based Toys for Bob development studio in September by 10,000 square feet to occupy 23,500 square feet at Hamilton Landing as the team there released a latest installment for one of the hottest-selling games.
Roseville-based Adventist Health’s Northern California Network in early December moved 120 administrative employees from four of its North Coast hospitals to Santa Rosa, where it leased more than 26,200 square feet of space at 463 Aviation Blvd., near Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport.
The Roseville-based health system said the new Santa Rosa office, called the Revenue Cycle Center, will centralize employees in billing, health information management and preadmissions from Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits, Ukiah Valley Medical Center, St. Helena Hospital Napa Valley and St. Helena Hospital Clearlake.
Amorim Cork America closed 2012 with a new wine closure distribution facility in south Napa twice the size of the current one. The new 48,000-square-foot warehouse, located between Devlin Road and Highway 29 in Napa Valley Gateway Business Park, has a quality-control facility and offices for the U.S. distribution arm of Amorim Group of Portugal. It was completed in December. The company purchased the 3.36-acre property in late November 2011.
SPG Solar, which designs and installs commercial photovoltaic energy systems, in late October signed a five-year lease for 25,400 square feet of warehouse, office and research-and-development space at 1039 N. McDowell Blvd. in Petaluma’s McDowell Business Center.
The company planned to relocate its Novato headquarters and consolidate a Sacramento warehouse into the new facility by the end of 2012. About 65 employees, including some remote workers and salespeople, are set to make the move. The new location allows for expansion.
Biosearch Technologies, an early pioneer in developing life science tools, plans to expand to Petaluma to provide room for continued growth for the next 10 years. In late July, it purchased a lender-owned 120,000-square-foot office and industrial building in a south Petaluma business park built in 1987 for Tegal Corp., as that company was growing its business of manufacturing semiconductor chip production machines.
Biosearch has about 120 employees in two 30,000-square-foot Novato buildings and annual sales of around $30 million. At the beginning of 2013 before the expiration of the lease for labs and headquarters offices at 81 Digital Dr. in Novato, Biosearch plans to move about 90 production and administrative employees to the nearly 100,000 square feet of vacant space in the Petaluma building, located at 2199–2201 S. McDowell Blvd. in Oakmead Northbay Business Park.
Another company planning an expansion move in early 2013 is another growing Marin video game developer and publisher, San Rafael-based Telltale Games. The 8-year-old company in October signed a five-plus-year lease for 22,000 square feet of offices formerly occupied by San Rafael-based design software developer Autodesk on the fourth floor of Marin Executive Center at 4000 Civic Center Dr. in north San Rafael. That nearly doubles the size of Telltale’s studio, currently located on the east side of the city. The company had 125 employees at the time of the lease and plans to move to the new space space, which has room for 160, in March or April.
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