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Apple bolsters its presence in Rancho Bernardo, now the market’s largest tech tenant

Apple in recent weeks quietly signed two new leases along West Bernardo Drive in Rancho Bernardo, increasing its footprint in the tech-focused office center by 148,000 square feet, according to real estate tracker CoStar.

In April, Apple signed a lease for a single floor, or 52,800 square feet, in the newly renovated Rancho Vista Corporate Center at 16409 West Bernardo Drive, where Intel and Labcorp Drug Development are also tenants.

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In May, the tech giant leased an entire building, or 95,166 square feet, to The Point at 16765 West Bernardo Drive. The four-story building, built in 1999, was once occupied by Northrup Grumman. Both leases provide for a move-in date of February 2023.

Apple has not publicly acknowledged the deals, but the leases have been confirmed by CoStar’s research team, said Joshua Ohl, who serves as the local market analysis manager. When reached for comment, Apple spokeswoman Rachel Tully said the company had “nothing new to share at this time.”

The deals increase Apple’s office footprint to 567,791 square feet in Rancho Bernardo — and more than 1.3 million square feet in San Diego, according to Ohl’s calculation, which it says is an estimate cautious because Apple is secretive about the space it rents. Still, the deals cement the iPhone maker as the largest tech tenant in the Rancho Bernardo submarket, as well as one of the greater San Diego area’s top tech employers, he said. Apple also leases a number of office buildings in University City.

“There aren’t too many technology companies, separate from biotechnology, that occupy more than 1,000,000 square meters. They are one of the few,” Ohl said. “It’s almost like they’re creating a bunch of satellite offices to make it as convenient as possible for all of their employees, wherever they live, to walk into an office.”

Apple first planted its roots in San Diego in 2018, when it unveiled plans to open a 1,200-person engineering center focused on wireless technologies. The local ambitions of the Cupertino-based company have transformed significantly over time.

In 2021, the company has committed to growing its local workforce to over 5,000 employees over a five-year period. Taken together, Apple’s new and existing leases in San Diego appear to meet the commitment, assuming the company allocates 260 square feet of space per employee. And yet, more growth appears on the horizon.

“It looks like they’re very optimistic about the business and plan to get people back to the office one way or another at some point as they continue to rent space. — even as they continue to delay a return to the office. “, Ohl said.

In May, Apple put aside a plan require workers to return to the office three days a week, according to Bloomberg. The decision, which was reportedly prompted by an increase in COVID-19 cases, also appears to be linked to rejection of employees on the hybrid work policy of the company.

The Rancho Bernardo office market comprises 6.6 million square feet of space. It is defined by older properties, almost all built before 2010, which are occupied by large technology and defense companies. The area is becoming increasingly popular for tech companies that have been driven out of Sorrento Mesa and University City, where a booming life science industry has taken hold.

The surge of interest has led real estate investment firm Drawbridge Realty to recently begin construction on an 82,000 square foot building at 16707 Via Del Campo Court, marking the first project on the market in five years.

Staff reporter Mike Freeman contributed to this article.

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