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Why The Bay Area Is The Place To Be For This Tech Giant

Everyone is talking about Google’s massive campus in downtown San Jose, but another tech giant has been growing its presence in downtown San Jose and San Francisco.

Adobe's headquarters in San Jose

“The Bay Area is the primary place where we can feel we can continue to grow,” Adobe Senior Director of Workplace Strategy & Solutions Scott Ekman said. “San Jose and San Francisco are core to our technology teams and our technical talent resides here.”

Adobe is expanding its footprint in San Jose with new leases in downtown that could allow for the addition of 3,000 workers. It also is taking up the entirety of Kilroy Realty’s 400K SF 100 Hooper project in San Francisco.

Adobe Senior Director of Workplace Strategy & Solutions Scott Ekman at an orphanage in Cambodia

“Adobe’s going through a really rapid growth cycle right now,” Ekman said. “We’re adding a couple thousand people per year, and we need to make decisions on where the headcount goes.”

The 100 Hooper building was an ideal office for Adobe since it was close to its existing San Francisco office and two other locations it gained through acquisitions, according to Ekman. The building provided a long-term solution to connect the offices and was close to a creative community and transit. Being above future maker spaces also ties closely to Adobe's creative culture.

Adobe plans to double its staff in San Francisco with 1,400 employees at the Hooper complex, which will be chock full of amenities, including a café, a wellness center, managed spaces for large customer meetings and events and a rooftop patio, according to Ekman.

The Advantages Of Urban Office Life

Inside one of Adobe's San Jose offices

Being in two urban areas has helped Adobe attract additional young tech talent. Many tenants are starting to prefer urban cores instead of suburban campuses.

“Very few tech companies are growing in urban markets,” Ekman said. “Most of the tech companies are in what you would consider suburban markets. After coming to Adobe [from Sun Microsystems], I noticed how nice it is to have more density.”

Adobe has an office at each end of the Caltrain line, allowing workers to take the train to go in between campuses, and many workers often split their time between campuses, Ekman said.

“Downtown is just a terrific place for us because of the proximity to Diridon and the train station,” Ekman said. “As Diridon continues to grow with all the investment from the city, it will enable us to continue to hire great talent.”

The urban environment also allows for better transit options. About 750 employees live within 10 miles of the San Jose office, while others take the train or public transit. Adobe also is working closely with the city to find solutions to the housing problem and is supporting organizations that are working on this issue.

Redesigning The Office Experience

Inside one of Adobe's San Jose office buildings

Adobe’s San Jose offices also have been undergoing a transformation, much like others in the Bay Area. An 18-story building was renovated over the last three years from an enclosed office to a completely open environment. The other two buildings will be renovated in the near future.

Renovated offices offer spaces that range from open to enclosed. Workers can use a four-person huddle room, a phone booth and meeting areas. Individual spaces may not vary significantly, but some personalization occurs on different team floors. The Photoshop floor has photos from different artists displayed. The Premier video floor has movie posters from different movies that used the software.

The tech company also is securing offices based on what the local talent pool has to offer. While the Bay Area may be the best area for tech talent, other markets offer talent pools for other non-tech positions.

“Adobe is starting to think through what the talent is and what we really need to acquire here versus what the talent is that we can access in other markets,” Ekman said.

In Lehi, Utah, for example, it employs 1,200 to 1,500 people in back-office positions, since that area has a better talent pool for those positions.

Find out more from Adobe's Scott Ekman at Bisnow's Silicon Valley: Hot Projects event Dec. 14 in San Jose.