LA Times – When Snapchat was housed in a sky blue beachfront bungalow on the Venice boardwalk, fans of the fledgling disappearing-video app used to take selfies in front of the company’s now famous ghost logo. Evan Spiegel, the company’s founder and chief executive, could walk out onto the promenade, talk to his users, and channel the neighborhood’s hip appeal into his fledgling app.
That was six years ago, before the company now known as Snap Inc. launched a $3.4-billion initial public offering in March and grew so big it became a punching bag for local residents and businesses who blamed it for changing Venice’s character. In a move that was long anticipated, Snap said it put more than half of its Venice office space up for lease last week so that it can consolidate hundreds of employees inside a corporate office park next to Santa Monica Airport.
The move, which was first reported by real estate data provider CoStar, encompasses just under 163,000 square feet of real estate in 14 locations, Snap said. The biggest spaces Snap is putting up for lease include two neighboring structures at 619 and 701 Ocean Front Walk totaling 44,887 square feet, the company said. Snap is leasing an additional 29,596 square feet nearby at 909 and 913 Ocean Front Walk. It’s also leasing more than 28,000 square feet of combined space at three locations on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Smaller leases are available on Brooks Avenue and Main and Market streets.
Spiegel and the rest of the executive team will remain at the company’s headquarters at 63 Market Street. Although Snap intends to always keep some offices in Venice, it expects to have more employees in Santa Monica than in Venice by the middle of the year. “While we are looking forward to bringing teams closer together in Santa Monica, Venice is a magical place and we’re so grateful to have started and grown our company here,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.
The move had been expected ever since the company signed a long-term lease for 300,000 square feet of space at Santa Monica Business Park early last year. The release of more than 160,000 square feet would raise office vacancy in Venice — one of the most desirable office markets in the region — from about 8% to nearly 20%, local brokers say.
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