EHarmony Inc. is breaking up with Santa Monica.
The online dating site has finalized a deal to move from its current headquarters at Santa Monica's Colorado Center to Westwood, where it will take the top four floors of 10900 Wilshire Blvd., currently under renovation. Under a ten-year lease, EHarmony will be the anchor tenant and will get signage on both sides of the building, Chief Operating Officer Armen Avedissian said.
The building, formerly known as Murdock Plaza, is a prominent Westwood office tower that was purchased by New York real estate company Tishman Speyer for a reported $125 million last year.
"We can't wait to move," Avedissian said. "Just driving from Santa Monica to the 405 freeway right now is sometimes taking some employees from 45 minutes to one hour and 15 minutes to go 3 miles. It's a waste of time."
The move is expected July 20.
EHarmony will occupy 50,000 square feet in Westwood, down from the 64,000 square feet it has at the Colorado Center.
Avedissian said the smaller space will better suit the company: Two years ago, EHarmony outsourced its call center operations to Utah, reducing headquarters employees by approximately 100, he said. Since then, the extra space has sat empty.
"Right now we have 200 moving over to Westwood and we have the ability to grow to 300. And then we will continue to expand down the building and add floors," he said.
EHarmony's relationship with Santa Monica has been relatively short; it moved to the beachside city just five years ago from its previous home in Pasadena and took up residence in the Colorado Center via a five-year sublease agreement with Yahoo, another tenant in the complex.
The sublease expires at the end of July, and Avedissian said Colorado Center building owner Equity Office "didn't even give us an option to stay in our floor."
One big factor that played into EHarmony's decision to move to L.A.: the three-year extension of an attractive business tax exemption for Internet companies.
"Had they not extended the tax break to Internet companies, we wouldn't have gone because it would have wiped out the gain anyway in the economics of moving versus not moving," Avedissian said. "It was critical that we had that extended."
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has been touting the exemption and actively wooing tech companies across the city border. The mayor's office started talking to EHarmony last summer and marketed the incentives that L.A. has to offer; more recently, Garcetti called EHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren to make his pitch directly.
"This move is another sign that our city is emerging as a tech leader, ensuring that we're able to retain quality engineers and attract and grow local funding sources," Garcetti said Wednesday.
Santa Monica is known for pricey rents and high occupancy rates, which have forced a number of tech companies to look elsewhere for office space.
Last month, Yahoo Inc. announced that it was moving its Santa Monica operations to Playa Vista. The Sunnyvale, Calif., Internet company signed a long-term lease for about 130,000 square feet at the new Collective campus and said it was bringing at least 400 jobs with room for growth.
Video game company Riot Games Inc. is also moving from Santa Monica to Los Angeles this spring.