Autodesk finalizes exit from Marin County after 40 years

Four decades after it got its start in southern Marin County, now-global design software maker Autodesk has given notice that its gradual headquarters relocation to San Francisco will soon be complete.

As of Oct. 14, the company will be officially closing its former headquarters, at 111 McInnis Parkway in San Rafael, and reassigning the 578 Marin employees to its San Francisco base in the Landmark at One Market building, according to an Aug. 15 filing with the state Employment Development Department.

“Most of these employees are now designated as hybrid employees and therefore do not have mandatory weekly in-office days,” wrote Rebecca Pearce, chief people officer, to the agency. “Five of the employees are office-based and will therefore be required to work in the San Francisco office consistent with our internal guidelines.”

In January, Autodesk it was giving up leases on two other office locations in San Rafael and San Francisco, even as the company continued to hire in the Bay Area to support growth and replace turnover, said to be below industry average.

At the time, surges of infections from the delta and later omicron variants of the coronavirus were sweeping through the country, and a number of Bay Area technology firms were slowing or reversing their return-to-office plans. Likewise, Autodesk accelerated its “flexible workplace” program, based on input from employee surveys.

Autodesk started April 1982 with 13 programmers working from the Mill Valley home of co-founder John Walker, according to the Marin Independent Journal. Its main product was AutoCAD, which became a popular driver for the transition from mainframe-based design to work done on personal computers.

The software maker now has global operations, with $4.39 billion in revenue last fiscal year from multiple software lines in construction, engineering, manufacturing and media production.

The company on Wednesday reported second-quarter revenue of $1.24 billion, up 17% from a year ago.

Soon after its founding, the company expanded to a Mill Valley office complex then in 1984 grew again in a move to Sausalito. In 1994, the company moved to San Rafael, into the newly built 115,000-square-foot 111 McInnis building, which remains under lease through 2024.

The offices Autodesk leaves behind in Marin may not stay empty for long, according to Haden Ongaro, who leads North Bay operations for real estate services firm Newmark.

“It’s unfortunate to see companies leave, but we have a history of success backfilling the space,” Ongaro said. “I’m confident someone will come in and take the Autodesk space, as we’ve seen before.”

In its Marin expansions and contractions in recent years, Autodesk left behind large spaces at 4000 Civic Center Drive, which were filled by Sutter Health, and at 4040 Civic Center, now home to multiple companies.

When Lucasfilm left Marin for San Francisco, its office and industrial portfolio in San Rafael was mostly occupied within 18 months. Glassdoor also exited Mill Valley for San Francisco last year, and its former 42,000-square foot space is now leased.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Before coming to the Business Journal in 1999, he wrote for Bay City News Service in San Francisco. Reach him at or 707-521-4256.

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