Gaming Co. Bandai Moving Base to Irvine

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Main News Photo

(Orange County Business Journal)

Video game maker Bandai Namco Holdings USA is moving its North American base from Santa Clara to Irvine, and has struck one of the area’s largest office deals of the year for a newly built development in the Spectrum area of the city.

The North American branch of the Japanese game maker, best-known for the arcade classic Pac-Man, recently completed a deal to lease the entirety of the Source H2O, a nearly 70,000-square-foot creative office project near the intersection of Sand Canyon Avenue and Waterworks Way.

The two-building development was overseen by the Irvine Ranch Water District on a 13.5-acre parcel of land it owns next to its own offices.

The Source H2O is among the largest new area office developments not headed by Irvine Company.

The lease is among the top half dozen office deals reported in the county by square feet this year. Its real estate footprint suggests Bandai will be the second-largest video game company in OC.

Blizzard Entertainment, which is the area’s biggest software company with some 2,800 local workers as of earlier this year, occupies more than 700,000 square feet at its expansive Irvine campus and other nearby buildings.

April Deadline

A few months ago, Bandai alerted its staff in Santa Clara of the move to Southern California, though a specific location was not disclosed. It has offered employees there the opportunity to move to Irvine, according to local reports.

Its employee base in Silicon Valley was estimated to be in the 150 to 200 range as of a few months ago, according to trade industry reports.

The company is currently advertising for more than 30 positions in Irvine, according to Bandai’s website.

Flexible, remote, and work-from-home options are available for these positions until April 2022.  

Afterward, “we expect all employees to join us at our new offices in Irvine, California where a hybrid work schedule will be observed,” Bandai Namco says.

Return to OC

In addition to Pac-Man, Bandai is also known for a variety of more modern Japanese role-playing and fighting games. Games under its roster include Scarlet Nexus, Katamari Damacy, and Ace Combat.

It also counts a division, based in El Segundo, that makes a variety of children’s toys and interactive entertainment, such as Tamagotchi and Dragon Ball Super.

It’s not known whether the Los Angeles operations are moving to Irvine.

Bandai, at the time it announced a closure of its Santa Clara office, said the “decision has been made to enable different group companies within the Bandai Namco group to integrate and open new opportunities for cross-collaboration across its entire portfolio in both the digital and physical goods sectors.”

The Irvine move is a return home of sorts for the company.

Bandai previously owned a 77,000-square-foot steel and glass office along Katella Avenue in Cypress. It sold that building some five years ago and moved local operations to El Segundo to be closer to the headquarters of partner Mattel Inc., the largest toy company in the U.S.

IRWD Win

The Source H2O was designed to hold between one and four tenants; Bandai is occupying the entire facility, located at 23 Odyssey.

The Source H2O’s construction was headed by KPRS Construction Services Inc. of Brea. Its initial cost was projected to be in the $20 million range—roughly $285 per square foot—according to IRWD regulatory filings.

Architectural firm Ware Malcomb of Irvine worked on the project’s design, which includes a nearly 4,000-square-foot rooftop deck, rollup office doors and a variety of other creative-office flourishes.  

Cushman & Wakefield Inc.’s Kevin Turner and John Gallivan handled leasing for the project, in conjunction with Michael Hartel of Colliers International.

Scott Wetzel of JLL represented the tenant in the seven-year lease, whose monthly rent runs around $2.95 per square foot, according to CoStar Group Inc.’s records.

Bandai’s lease adds to a growing roster of video game firms along Sand Canyon Avenue.

Frost Giant, an upstart game developer whose founders count ties to Blizzard Entertainment, is the first tenant disclosed to date at Innovation Office Park, a new project a few blocks away from the Source H20.

Dreamhaven, a new gaming studio founded by former Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime and his wife, Amy, has its base at the nearly Sand Canyon Business Center. 

 

Category: Economic Development, Business News, Irvine News