Tuesday, September 18 , 2018, 5:09 pm | Fair 74º

 
 
 
 

Business

Growing IT Firm Novacoast Extends Lease, Expands Space

Santa Barbara-based company recruits many of its employees out of UCSB

Santa Barbara-based IT professional service and product development company Novacoast has lengthened its lease and expanded its office at 1505 Chapala St.

The company acquired an additional 3,467 square feet of adjacent office space and lengthened its lease until 2021. The corporate headquarters has been at that location for five years, but it had to make room for its rapidly expanding development team.

“Traditionally we’re an IT professional services company with a development group who supports that, but over the past several years there are many customers who have asked us to write products for them,” said Eron Howard, Novacoast vice president and development director.

The team handles everything from the initial design on mobile or Web platforms to full design and implementation. Novacoast also has been producing consumer-facing and social networking sites.

“We’re doing more fun types of development,” which has boomed in the past two years, Howard said. “When the economy started to fall apart and people were looking for other opportunities, we provided a group that could do something new.”

Novacoast’s clientele includes companies such as Novell and Symantec. It offers rapid deployment solutions, cloud services, security service practices and remotely managed services.

UCSB’s engineers have been instrumental to Novacoast’s growth, Howard’s alma mater. His development team has just expanded to 30, adding seven members in the past two months.

“This is an incredible place to recruit talent,” he said. “I went to UCSB and studied computer science, and we’ve been recruiting exclusively there for the past 10 years. It has some of the best talent and graduates people who have social skills, which is necessary for our business because it’s mostly on the consulting side.”

The growth of Santa Barbara’s technology companies has a lot to do with the pool of prepared graduates, said Mark Mattingly, Pacifica Commercial Realty’s associate vice president.

“We always herald the fact that our local economy’s biggest driver is the tech sector, which seems to be proven over and over again,” he said. “A lot of that has to do with our proximity to UCSB and the technology that comes out of there, where it’s incubated and developed as commercially-viable companies.”

Novacoast represented itself in the transaction and worked with managing partner Leon Lunt, who has owned the Chapala building for 20 years. The IT company replaced Santa Barbara Ceramic Design, which bought its own building at 1600 Pacific Ave. in Oxnard near its warehouse.

But the demand for space at 1505 Chapala St. has been decreasing recently, Lunt said.

“There are not as many people looking because they have a lot of choices (in terms of spaces) or can negotiate with landlords to get a cheaper rent,” he said.

Mattingly said it’s a renter’s market, and that now would be the time to make a deal.

“There’s no better time than now to make a deal,” he said. “We’re seeing rental rates drop lower than we have in a long time.”

Mattingly expects to see an increase in the number of lease transactions and a drop in the vacancy rates in office and retail space.

He said the Goleta City Council approving several items regarding Deckers Outdoor Corp. moving into the Cabrillo Business Park last week is a step in the right direction that will promote growth in the region.

“It’s really encouraging last week to see the City of Goleta consider minor modifications to Deckers in order to remain in the community,” Mattingly said. “The presentation of the economic effect of a company like Deckers is worth millions of dollars of revenue in every aspect from employees to the hundreds of jobs created.”

It will be one of the greenest business parks between Thousand Oaks and San Jose, he said, adding that the growth is very carefully planned and environmentally conscious, “and that’s how Santa Barbara needs it to be.”

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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