Business

DreamWorks opens new campus in Redwood City

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A major animation studio is making a major commitment to expand in Silicon Valley. It's all tied to Thursday's opening of the new DreamWorks campus in Redwood City along Seaport Boulevard, not far from the Woodside Road exit off Highway 101.

The only thing missing was a red carpet when DreamWorks held its ribbon-cutting ceremony. The global animation studio has facilities in the Los Angeles area, in India, and in Redwood City... and its footprint here is growing.

Something usually happens when companies pump tens of millions of dollars into a new facility. They see themselves growing. DreamWorks Animation has 630 employees, but the new building will allow them to hire 200 more in the coming years.

"Right now we're looking at a lot of technology people to come in, but over the course of the next few years we're also looking at a lot of artists," said studio head Gail Currey.

Despite the weak U.S. economy, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is confident spending tens of millions now because of the success of animated films such as "Madagascar 3." He hopes a new facility will foster even more hits.

"We want people to come here every day, love their work, love coming to work, have the state-of-the-art tools to be able to realize their imagination and their dreams, and with that, we will win," said Katzenberg.

DreamWorks wouldn't let us inside because they're working on secret projects not made public yet. The new bayside building brings together a team that was split at two smaller sites. "Madagascar" director Eric Darnell says being under one roof makes a difference.

"When you pass somebody, he goes, 'Hey wait, Eric, I had an idea,' and then suddenly it becomes part of the film," said Darnell. "So to have everybody under one roof in a facility that just promotes creativity is going to be great for us."

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre was all smiles. "Congratulations to all of you for your ongoing commitment to Redwood City," she said.

An expanding DreamWorks may also help the Redwood City economy. Restaurants along Broadway are confident they will benefit.

"Even though they got a cafeteria onsite, I think they do need to get out of the building and come downtown," said Jacques Rattaire of Mandaloun Mediterranean restaurant.

The artists and technical team get all the perks you'd expect for a Silicon Valley company -- a gym, bike racks, charging stations for electric vehicles, and even a physician and nutritionist.

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dreamworks, redwood city, business, david louie
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