Chevron Corp. plans to sell its San Ramon headquarters in California and is offering to cover relocation-related expenses for employees who voluntarily opt to move to its nearly 6,000-employee office space in Houston.
The energy giant said it is looking for a new, smaller space to lease in San Ramon and expects to move from its existing headquarters in late 2023. Its current base of operations in California spans 92 acres, 13 buildings, and 1.4 million square feet, with over 2,000 employees.
“The current real estate market provides the opportunity to right-size our office space to meet the requirements of our headquarters-based employee population,” the company said. “Chevron will remain headquartered in California, where the company has a 140-year history of operations and partnerships throughout the state.”
Trent Barmby, a California-based senior managing director at commercial property firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., believes selling the headquarters will attract various development opportunities.
“The sale of Chevron’s nearly 100-acre campus in San Ramon will likely attract plenty of interest from the area’s life-sciences industry or developers looking to build high-end apartments and retail stores,” said Barmby. “It’s a generational redevelopment opportunity, and it almost certainly won’t stay in its current form.”
Chevron’s plan to relocate business operations to Texas is just one of several similar moves by large U.S. companies to transition their workforce to the Lone Star State. Machinery giant Caterpillar Inc., aerospace company Boeing Co., and defense contractor Raytheon Technologies Corp. have all relocated business operations to Texas.
“Like Tech companies going to Austin from the Bay Area, energy companies from all over are going to Houston,” explained San Francisco-based tech lawyer David Singh.
“This won’t be a full move and is likely more in response to more people wanting to work from home more than anything else, but it does add to the worrying trend of Californian businesses leaving the state,” said Singh. “Leaders here don’t seem to realize just how devastating all these losses can be. It’s tax money from several sources being cut off, not to mention prestige, job opportunities, bringing in the best and brightest to the state, and more.
“A lot of people still try and come to California for a decent job, a decent living, and having a nice starter house, but in California, and especially the Bay Area, that is not the reality at this time. People have been bucking away from working here, and this Chevron move is just the latest indication that something is wrong in California.”
Houston has become the capital of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry in recent decades, with Texas leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott and former Gov. Rick Perry, touting lower taxes and a lighter regulatory burden on businesses compared with California and other states. Texas does not have a state income tax, and its real estate is generally less expensive than California.