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Petco’s New HQs’ Best Feature: It’s in the County

Petco Animal Supplies Inc. plans to establish a new San Diego headquarters and support center after buying a Rancho Bernardo industrial building for about $33 million.

Petco will remodel the vacant 300,000-square-foot facility to house more than 650 relocated employees, as it consolidates operations currently being performed at sites in Miramar and Scripps Ranch, company officials said.

Privately held Petco did not announce projected costs for the renovation, nor is it disclosing exactly what went into its decision-making. Interior construction and extensive remodeling are expected to begin this fall and conclude by fall 2015.

The new San Diego support center will work in tandem with the company’s existing support center in San Antonio, which opened in 2011, CEO James Myers said.

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“San Diego has been our home for decades. This community has helped us grow, and this new facility gives us the opportunity for continued growth in our hometown,” Myers said in a statement.

Petco during the past three years has been reconfiguring its workforce and real estate arrangements, downsizing its local workforce in the process as it shifted about 100 San Diego positions to the satellite center in Texas prior to its opening. The San Antonio location was chosen after the retailer considered 37 sites in several states.

At the time of its 2011 opening, the company projected employment at the Texas center to reach about 400 in the following three to four years.

Praise From State, Local Leaders

Petco officials were not commenting on the new headquarters project beyond a recently issued statement, a spokeswoman said. Company leaders have not announced any government financial incentives tied to its upcoming local plans, but Petco officials did discuss plans with city and state representatives before making a formal announcement.

“California led the nation in private sector job growth with over 315,000 new jobs created in 2013,” said Brook Taylor — deputy director at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, known as Go-Biz — in an email from his Sacramento office. “This was based largely on homegrown companies like Petco that continue to add jobs and expand their presence.”

“Go-Biz maintains a strong partnership with Petco, and we are excited they are investing in a new headquarters in California,” Taylor said.

Petco’s written announcement included a quote from San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who cited the retailer’s long tenure as a major local employer and supporter of a wide range of philanthropic and recreational activities in the area.

“We’re thrilled they’ve renewed their commitment to the city and are creating an innovative workspace that will enhance the wellness of their employees and our community,” Faulconer said.

Fostering Collaboration

The remodeled Rancho Bernardo site will have “very few closed-door offices” to foster a collaborative work environment, Myers said. There will be employee wellness facilities and pet-friendly amenities, including pet play areas.

Sustainable features will include work spaces designed to take advantage of natural light, and eco-friendly building materials will be used where possible.

Petco bought the 32-year-old building, at 10850 Via Frontera, from Los Angeles-

based Kilroy Realty Corp. for $33.08 million, according to CoStar Group and public data. The building at one time housed information technology provider Unisys Corp., which moved out in 2006 after selling the building to Kilroy.

Petco operates more than 1,300 locations in the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico, including retail stores and nine Pooch Hotel pet daycare centers, employing 24,000 companywide. It is the nation’s second-largest pet supplies retailer, after Phoenix-based PetSmart Inc., and more than 30 of its stores are in San Diego County.

It also supports animal welfare causes through its nonprofit Petco Foundation, and it is in the midst of a multiyear naming rights deal at Petco Park in East Village, home to Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.

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