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Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024

Virgin Galactic Takes More Space at Flight

Space Tourism Co.'s Tustin HQ Now Tops 100K SF

The local landing base for Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) recently got a boost.

The upstart space tourism company inked a lease to expand its headquarters by 33,755 square feet at the Flight office campus at the Tustin Legacy development, bringing its total footprint there to 110,226 square feet, brokerage reports indicate.

It’s a rapid expansion for the company, which occupied just 12,000 square feet of office space in Orange County a year ago.

That physical growth comes as the company maintains its reputation as one of the most active local tech firms on the hiring front, alongside EV maker Rivian Automotive Inc.

(Nasdaq: RIVN), defense contractor Anduril Industries and satellite maker Terran Orbital Corp. (NYSE: LLAP).

Hiring Push

Virgin Galactic moved its headquarters designation from New Mexico to the Tustin office campus near the intersection of Barranca Parkway at Red Hill Avenue in March.

That official relocation came several months after the company moved its main executive offices to Tustin shortly following the hiring of Chief Executive Michael Colglazier, an OC local and the former president of Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort from 2013 to 2018.

Last year also saw the company set up new engineering and design division at Flight, with the approximately 61,000-square-foot Tustin spot serving “our primary hub for R&D and the design of our new vehicles,” Colglazier previously told analysts.

As of last week, Virgin’s website listed nearly 100 open jobs in Tustin, including structural design engineer, flight simulator design engineer and chief engineer.

Along with R&D and design work, the local executive offices also house the company’s marketing, finance and other administrative functions.

Virgin Galactic’s operational base is at Spaceport America, a 25-mile spot near Las Cruces where the company’s invested more than $200 million to handle future astronaut launches.

In July, the firm said it signed a long-term lease for a new final assembly manufacturing facility for its next-generation Delta class spaceships in Mesa, Ariz.

The Delta class spaceship is Virgin Galactic’s production vehicle that is designed to fly weekly, supporting the company’s target of 400 flights per year from Spaceport America.

Based on current schedules, the first of these ships is expected to commence revenue-generating payload flights in late 2025.

HQ Base

With a market cap topping $1.2 billion as of last week, Virgin Galactic is currently the most valuable public company based in Tustin, and the most valuable publicly traded aerospace company now in the county.

The company’s Tustin office is at Building C within Flight, which spans 145,417 square feet in total.

Virgin Galactic’s move is the second headquarters expansion to occur at Flight as of late.

Last month, pet food manufacturer company JustFoodForDogs said it would relocate its headquarters from Irvine to Flight in a 13,000-square-foot deal.

The company, which makes nutritious dog meals using human grade, fresh food, will be based out of a stand-alone building adjacent to the campus’ food hall and plans to move in next summer.

CBRE Group Inc. represented both LPC West—the developer of Flight—and the tenant in the JFFD deal.

“Tenants are attracted to Flight at Tustin Legacy’s creative office campus because of the unique architecture and robust amenities, coupled with expansive indoor/outdoor space,” CBRE’s Matt Didier said in a statement.

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