When Logix Federal Credit Union announced in mid-August that it had decided to relocate its headquarters, Burbank lost a partner that had operated out of the city since 1937 and Santa Clarita gained another new firm that will increase the number job options for local residents.
Originally founded as the Lockheed Aircraft Federal Credit Union to serve employees of the aircraft company, the credit union has more than 150,000 members and more than $4 billion in assets. It also has four branches in the Santa Clarita Valley, and plans to add more in the future, said its CEO.
And Logix CEO Dave Styler credits the Santa Clarita business community with making the deal that almost didn’t happen – happen. When the credit union ran out of room at its existing headquarters, it considered a number of factors when looking for a location for its future home.
Originally it had hoped to remain in Burbank, Styler said. But doing so would require that it relocated its staff temporarily, while it rebuilt on the 4.5 acres it already owns in Burbank. In the final analysis, however, it decided that hat would have been too disruptive and so the credit union began looking in other cities for raw land or existing buildings that it could convert into a new headquarters. Logix looked in Burbank, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley and even eastern Ventura County. At one point, it was “pretty hot on a building in Simi Valley,” Styler said.
“Ultimately we came to the conclusion that it made more sense to have a raw piece of land where we could build our own facility rather than have to fit into an existing building or floor plan.”
Logix finally settled on a 12-acre site on Commerce Center Drive in the Valencia Commerce Center which it purchased, and where it plans to build its new headquarters. Construction on the new headquarters will begin as soon as possible, with completion expected in 2018. The new headquarters will be 170,000 square feet initially, but the land allows Logix to build up to 255,000 square feet so that, if needed, the credit union can expand by adding another wing should it need in the next 15 years, Styler said.
Although the credit union owns it’s building in Burbank, Logix will be selling it but replacing the one large branch with three more branches in Burbank increasing convenience for its members who use the main branch now, Styler said.
As it currently stands, it appears that Logix will build a parking structure for its employees, which is good news according to Styler. In Burbank, the credit union has only uncovered parking. Plans call for making the structure look like the headquarters itself so that the building won’t look like a parking structure, he said.
And all this is good news, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation who worked steadily to attract the credit union – even though initially the group didn’t even know who it was appealing to, said Holly Schroeder, president and CEO of the SCVEDC.
“We were asked to put together a comparison matrix of three cities,” she said. “We compared school ratings, housing, safety ratings, and Santa Clarita’s balanced city budgets, good bond ratings.”
When the SCVEDC got a call to make a pitch why a firm should select Santa Clarita to headquarter its company, it didn’t even know who the inquiring firm was, Schroeder said. Logix said it was pleased with what it received.
“They were really informative in giving us data that really substantiated why we should consider Santa Clarita and focused on the recruitment angle, as well as housing and schools in the area,” Styler said.
Still, Logix wanted to keep any relocation as convenient as possible for existing employees, he said. That’s why the credit union had preferred to remain in Burbank so as not to add any burden to employees.
In fact, in choosing Santa Clarita it found that 30 percent of its employees would have an improved commute, with many already living in Santa Clarita. However, 70 percent of the credit union’s employees would be traveling farther, until Logix learned its employees would be driving against traffic saving time on their commute.
One key deciding factor in favor of choosing Santa Clarita, Styler said, was that the area had a good pool of skilled labor, an educated labor force which made it ideal for recruiting future employees. Logix didn’t find as strong a pool of talent in other areas that it looked at.
Logix plans to bring some 400 employees with them when they move to Santa Clarita, Schroeder said. And there’s potential that its employee base could eventually swell to 800 employees after the new headquarters are built – making them one of the largest private employers in the Santa Clarita Valley, Schroeder said.
Icing on the cake
While finding 12 free-standing acres of land made a big difference when selecting Santa Clarita, Styler said, it was also the efforts of the SCVEDC that finally cinched the deal.
“They couldn’t have been more accommodating and more welcoming,” he said. “They took us into a location for lunch to meet with business and political leaders, people who live and work there, and company executives who had already made the move to Santa Clarita.”
Schroeder said they invited people from the city of Santa Clarita, county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich’s office, College of the Canyons, Newhall Land Development Inc. and another “large employer which had relocated to the Santa Clarita Valley” to that meeting as well.
“We found Santa Clarita to be a very friendly environment,” Styler said. “That was an important factor for us because we had had a little different experience with some jurisdictions. They just really made it easy. We really felt welcome and felt we could work with folks that could make decisions about our design. We felt very good about our decision based on that.”
And the fact that Logix could build its new headquarters in an area where it has four existing branches with plans to open more – that just really was the “icing on the cake,” Styler said.