EBay plans on making it in New York and it’s secured a 35,000 square foot space to ensure that it happens. The commerce and payments company is announcing that it has leased an entire floor in the Flat Iron district where it will house 200 people in a new technology center of excellence over the next couple of years.
The office at 625 6th Avenue will be headed up by Chris Dixon, founder of Hunch, which eBay bought in November. The center, which will have its grand opening this fall, will be dedicated to big data and improving eBay’s recommendations technology. When fully built out, a majority of the workers will be developers, data scientists and statisticians. Dixon said he hopes eBay’s center will be the second largest development office in New York after Google.
For now, there should be plenty of space. Hunch will bring over about 25 people from its cramped office. The new office will be the new home of PayPal’s Shopping Showcase, which has been on display for retailers in downtown New York. It will also host community events and provide free working and incubation space for friends of eBay.
For New York, the investment is another boost of momentum. Facebook has set up an engineering office not far from Twitter’s recently opened New York office. Google (s goog) already has more than 1,000 technology workers operating out of its massive Meatpacking district office. Microsoft (s msft) just announced it’s starting an R&D lab here. The city has also approved a new applied sciences campus led by Cornell University.
Mark Carges, eBay’s CTO told me he started his career in New York at Bell Labs but had to move to Silicon Valley to continue his career. He thinks New York is now in a place to be a magnet for talent and hold on to rising tech workers who might have migrated west in the past.”What is different now is we have big anchor tenants and a strong start up community,” said Carges. “Now, I can stay here and build my career. That wasn’t a choice before.”
Carges said eBay isn’t done shopping in New York and may be looking to pick up other start-ups. The company might also considering expanding the scope of the New York office, perhaps to incorporate more design work. The New York office joins other eBay centers of excellence in Shanghai, Tel Aviv, Bangalore, Portland, Seattle and Austin.