Theranos growing close to home in Palo Alto
Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal, 6/29/2012
Health care executive Elizabeth Holmes must really like her neighborhood.
Her company, Theranos Inc., is moving its headquarters 1.3 miles into Facebook Inc.’s former building on South California Avenue in Palo Alto. Then the medical-device maker plans to move into a newly constructed building on Page Mill Road — just a half-mile from its old headquarters on Hillview Avenue.
Theranos’ real estate musical chairs comes as the privately held company expands with big hiring plans, and as Palo Alto’s commercial real estate market continues to be on fire.
Led by founder and CEO Holmes, Theranos reveals limited information about itself publicly, including its work force levels and product details. Yet the company is on a growth path and appears to have enough liquidity to move around pricey Palo Alto a few times in coming years — not to mention that Theranos is also said to be taking 220,000-square-feet of space across the San Francisco Bay in Newark.
“They’re growing,” said Marcus Wood, a partner with real estate brokerage firm Cassidy Turley in East Palo Alto.
Theranos spokesman Jeffrey Blickman said the company has already started vacating its offices at 3200 Hillview Ave. for the old Facebook headquarters at 1601 S. California Ave.
This moves the company out of a 32,000-square-foot building into a 132,780-square-foot facility that, according to a recently issued city permit, is undergoing roughly $1.9 million in tenant improvements, including new lab spaces, shower rooms and office space.
Blickman also confirmed Theranos wants to eventually leave the former Facebook site for a new building at 1701 Page Mill Road, though he declined to provide a timeline for when company officials hope to be there. The new building is slated to be 111,335 square feet, and Blickman described it as the company’s “long-term headquarters.”
He declined to say how many people work for Theranos but said the company is “actively growing.” As of June 22, Theranos listed on its website 77 vacant positions, including a certified phlebotomy technician, a formulations chemist and a couple of machinists.
“Our company is building a new space in health care, and it’s symbolic to do that here in Palo Alto,” he said.
The properties on Hillview, South California and Page Mill are all owned by Stanford University. The city of Palo Alto’s Architectural Review Board on June 21 discussed Stanford’s plan to build the new research and development building at 1701 Page Mill.
As part of the plan, Stanford would tear down an aging two-story building on site that was previously occupied by The Wall Street Journal, which had offices and a printing facility there.
Bouncing around the Bay
The company’s departure to another area of Palo Alto comes after news reports in April said Theranos would move its headquarters to Pacific Research Center, a 10-building, 105-acre office park in Newark. The park’s owner, San Diego-based BioMed Realty Trust Inc., had said in March that an unidentified “private biotech company” signed a long-term lease for 220,000 square feet of space.
Newark’s community development director, Terrence Grindall, recently told the Business Journal that Theranos would move “at least” their manufacturing operations to Pacific Research Center, and the company has “started their process of moving in there.”
BioMed Realty spokesman Rick Howe said there has been “no change in our relationship with Theranos since we signed” the lease.
Blickman declined to comment on the company’s plans for that site. But the company is looking to hire for its space in southern Alameda County. For instance, of the 77 vacant positions listed online, four of them are based in Newark.