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UNION CITY, CA-When biotech company Abaxis outgrew its quarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., CEO Clint Severson tried to negotiate with the landlord to modify the 38,000-sf space. Sure, the landlord said, but rent would increase from $60,000/month to $200,000/month. “So we decided, forget Sunnyvale,” Severson tells GlobeSt.

Instead, Abaxis last spring began looking for greener – and cheaper – pastures. The company eventually chose to build a 90,000-sf facility in Union City. It is investing $6 million in the building, which would have paid for less than three years of rent under the new rates in Sunnyvale.

It will retain the building in Sunnyvale – unmodified – but most employees have relocated to the company’s new Union City quarters at Union City Boulevard and Whipple Road, Severson says. Members of the company’s administrative staff, marketing and sales departments, the customer service and technical support teams, and research and development employees all moved into the new quarters this week. The firm’s operations staff will move in by the middle of next month.

The move cost the company more than a quarter of its employees, though. “Out of 130 people, we lost about 40 who didn’t want to commute,” he says. “Everyone else is adjusting.”

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