The on-demand ride service paid $123.5 million for Oakland’s historic Sears building last year and so far has filed building permits to complete at least $2 million in renovations, according to BuildZoom, a startup that compiles construction and remodeling contractor data for homeowners.
Across the bay in San Francisco, Uber has so far initiated $130 million in construction on a bigger office in the Mission Bay neighborhood, BuildZoom’s data shows.
The new building permit data from BuildZoom, provided exclusively to Reuters, underscores the mammoth growth in Uber’s real estate footprint and associated costs, overshadowing most other tech startups in San Francisco and Oakland.
Uber is the most highly valued venture-backed tech firm and has raised more than $7.4 billion from investors, a war chest that can help fund real estate purchases.
But its costly expansion in Oakland and San Francisco comes as the venture capital investing climate cools, with more investors wary that highly valued startups may not grow into their stratospheric valuation.
The iconic Oakland building, which opened in 1929 as a department store, will house between 2,000 and 3,000 Uber employees across 380,000 square feet.
By comparison, Ask.com, an Oakland-based search engine founded in the dot-com boom, has 200 employees in a 79,000-square-foot office it shares with other companies owned by parent IAC Publishing, spokeswoman Suraya Akbarzad said.
Sungevity, a solar design company that has raised close to $900 million from investors, occupies approximately 68,000 square feet in Oakland, spokesman John Ordona said.
In San Francisco, Uber partnered with a real estate firm to purchase land for $125 million and develop a 423,000-square-foot campus that will house between 3,000 and 4,000 employees. That space is in addition to Uber’s 500,000-square-foot headquarters in downtown San Francisco, according to BuildZoom.
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