SAN JOSE -- QuantumScape, a cleantech battery maker, is expanding its operations in San Jose near the city's airport with a large new lease at a building where it could potentially employ 350 or more people.
The San Jose-based company appears to be operating in stealth mode. In 2011, it was touted at tech website GigaOm as a battery maker to keep an eye on. At that time, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Khosla Ventures were its principal financial backers.
"This is great for North San Jose, and it shows that industrial, manufacturing uses are doing well in Silicon Valley," said John Yandle, a senior vice president and managing director of the Santa Clara office of Cornish & Carey, a commercial realty firm. "The growth in the South Bay is more than Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), LinkedIn, Amazon, and the other technology expansions that are occurring in the area,"
The company has leased 87,000 square feet at 1730 Technology Drive, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the transaction.
When told of the transaction by this newspaper, San Jose city officials were quick to applaud the expansion by the battery company.
"This is an awesome cleantech company," said Kim Walesh, the city's economic development director. Walesh said. "It's great to have them in San Jose." Walesh wouldn't discuss details of the lease or expansion.
Cupertino-based Sobrato Organization, a legendary Silicon Valley realty developer, owns the building. The lease was arranged through Sobrato and Colliers International, a commercial realty firm. QuantumScape, Sobrato executive Mike Field and Colliers broker Marty Morici all declined to discuss the transaction.
The leased space is far larger than the space QuantumScape now occupies at 3087 N. First St. According to a March 2011 posting at the Colliers International website, the company's existing space totals 17,000 square feet.
QuantumScape could employ 350 to 450 people at the new location, while its current one can accommodate only 70 to 85 workers.
Much of the tech company expansion has occurred in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Mountain View and Santa Clara. Industry watchers believe North San Jose is poised to capture a fresh wave of tech growth.
Sources with direct knowledge of the deal say QuantumScape should move into the new offices by December.
Sobrato intends to undertake a complete renovation of the building. Sobrato executive Field, while declining to discuss the specifics of the deal, estimated that developers are spending $70 to $100 a square foot on renovations in the North San Jose market. That suggests Sobrato intends to spend $6.1 million to $8.7 million on this upgrade for QuantumScape. The building had been empty for 10 years before the lease deal.
"We are very excited to have QuantumScape in San Jose as they go to their next stage," Walesh said.
Contact George Avalos at 408-373-3556 or 925-977-8477. Follow him at Twitter.com/george_avalos.