Sonos will soon expand into three new downtown Santa Barbara buildings — a recommitment to the city where the now-growing wireless audio manufacturer planted its roots in 2002.
While moving to one large campus would have been ideal, Sonos officials decided to remain in tune with the coastal city’s downtown lifestyle.
The company will move its more than 270 local employees — many from its headquarters at 223 E. De la Guerra St. — into the new “urban campus” by the end of 2014, according to Ingvar Meijers, senior director global market development, real estate and facilities.
New buildings boast more than 100,000 total square feet of office space at 419 State St., 614 Chapala St. (currently occupied by longtime tenant Samy’s Camera) and 25 E. Mason St. in the Funk Zone, a soon-to-be vacated Brooks Institute campus.
Meijers said he looked at some larger Goleta properties, but ultimately found the right fit within pedestrian-friendly downtown Santa Barbara — a perk enjoyed by many of the company’s visitors.
“The downtown lifestyle of Santa Barbara is a part of our culture,” he told Noozhawk.
Sonos has been bursting at the seams the past 18 months, which is about how long Meijers has been trying to secure prime downtown real estate for lease.
The company has added about 170 employees in Santa Barbara during that same time period, and is planning for further influx in the next three to five years, Meijers said.
In addition to its headquarters, Sonos currently leases space at 801 Garden St. and 415 N Salsipuedes St.
The company even temporarily moved some employees into a fifth-floor office space at 820 State St.
“The growth here in Santa Barbara is indicative of our growth globally,” said Eric Nielsen, a senior PR manager at Sonos.
Music lovers around the world are realizing the beauty of streaming music from any room wirelessly, a surge Sonos foresaw more than a decade ago.
The company now employs more than 800 people worldwide, and its speakers and other products are sold by thousands of retailers in more than 60 countries.
“They’re also starting to take off their headphones,” Nielsen said.
Sonos is still determining which employees will work in which buildings, although all three future sites will undergo renovations.
Meijers said the Chapala Street location would become the company’s headquarters, with the Mason Street space redesigned for Sonos’ research and development team.
Sonos is also considering a biking rental program or other ways for the buildings, which are just blocks apart, to remain connected.