Snap snags $20M state grant to expand facilities and AR device plants

Santa Monica parent of Snapchat must use half the money for renovation or construction

Snap Snags $20M State Grant to Expand AR Footprint

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and the Snap HQ at 2772 Donald Douglas Loop North in Santa Monica (Getty, LoopNet)

Snap has received $20 million from the state to expand its offices in Santa Monica, Palo Alto and perhaps San Francisco, as well as manufacturing plants for augmented reality devices.

The Santa Monica-based parent of social media platform Snapchat received the grant last month as part of $149 million in grants and tax credits doled out to 12 companies, with a large portion going to Los Angeles-area businesses, the Los Angeles Business Journal reported.

With its $20 million grant, Snap must create 508 new jobs by the 2027 tax year, according to the Business Journal. It must also sink at least $10 million towards “facility construction and/or renovation,” or have its project take place in an area of high unemployment or poverty. 

The agreement specifically states that the funds must go towards advancing manufacturing capabilities for Snap’s AR devices. 

The California Competes Grant and the California Competes Tax Credit are available to businesses that want “to locate or stay and grow in California.” They aim to attract jobs and private investment.

In addition to Snap, Long Beach-based aerospace company AIBOT US received a grant for $15 million. The latest round of grants and tax credits is projected to draw $1.3 billion of private investment to the state, while creating 6,000 jobs.

Snap’s grant disbursement will begin in the 2025 tax year. The firm has offices in Santa Monica and Palo Alto. plus a pending return to San Francisco.

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This month, Snap pondered whether to slash its office expansion around its headquarters in Santa Monica Business Park at 2772 Donald Douglas Loop N by as much as 300,000 square feet.

In 2017, Snap signed a 10-year lease for around 300,000 square feet for its new headquarters at Santa Monica Business Park, within the broader tech hub known as Silicon Beach.

In 2021, the firm expanded its corporate base by another 140,000 square feet, while taking over more than 65 percent of the space vacated by Activision Blizzard, according to the Observer.

Last year, Snap announced it would lay off 20 percent of its workforce, while “reducing” its investment in real estate to cut costs. A TRD analysis found the company had ended 2021 with 1.4 million square feet.

A few months later, Snap told workers they must report to the office four days a week, according to Bloomberg.

In 2016, Snap unveiled a device called Spectacles, a wearable camera installed in a pair of sunglasses that can connect to the company’s Snapchat application and record video. The newest generation of Spectacles includes AR, and is only available to programmers and app developers.

— Dana Bartholomew

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