PLEASANTON -- Gap is scouting for offices in Pleasanton so it can shift hundreds of information technology employees from San Francisco to the East Bay, this newspaper has learned.

The office operations of the retailer are running out of space in San Francisco, according to Edie Kissko, a spokeswoman for Gap, whose retail brands include namesake The Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy.

"We are exploring additional satellite space within the Bay Area for Gap Inc. Information Technology staff expansion," Kissko said in an email response to this newspaper's inquiry about the retailer's hunt for space. She said the move would initially involve 200 to 300 employees.

San Francisco-based Gap's hunt for space is focused on Pleasanton, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the retailer's intentions. The retailer's headquarters are expected to remain where they are.

"We are committed to our presence in the city of San Francisco," Kissko said.

The company intends to occupy all or a portion of a building in the California Center office complex on the south side of Interstate 580 between Santa Rita Road and Hacienda Drive, three sources said.

"Anytime you have a company of this size moving operations to Pleasanton, that bodes very well for the market," said Ted Helgans, a senior managing partner with Colliers International, a commercial realty brokerage.


Advertisement

The building, located at 4450 Rosewood Drive, is about 136,000 square feet in size and is currently empty. That could accommodate 500 to 600 employees. It wasn't clear whether Gap would fill the entire building at some point, the sources said.

"Social media companies and other tech companies are competing for space in San Francisco," said Edward Del Beccaro, managing director with Transwestern Real Estate. "So other companies have to consider whether to renew their leases in San Francisco or look for other locations.

With the expansions by firms such as Twitter and Zynga, along with others, the reduction of available offices has caused rents to jump in San Francisco.

"You will see more companies looking to do what Gap did in order to control their rental costs and get more space," Del Beccaro said. "You see these cycles from time to time. When rents get too expensive in San Francisco, companies look to the East Bay to relocate. I expect more companies to follow suit."

In decades past, Chevron, Pacific Bell and AT&T pulled major operations out of San Francisco and shifted them to cities such as Pleasanton and San Ramon.

In the last year or two, however, Pleasanton has suffered from departures by high-profile firms. Polycom moved its headquarters and entire operation to San Jose, Robert Half shifted regional offices to San Ramon and Ross Stores struck a deal to relocate its headquarters to Dublin.

"It would be great for Gap to pick a site in Pleasanton," said Pamela Ott, Pleasanton's economic development director. "We also have attracted a large expansion by Clorox. We hope this will lead to more relocations to our area."

Contact George Avalos at 925-977-8477. Follow him at twitter.com/george_avalos.