San Jose's North First Street is best described as a series of squat, low-rise buildings that date back decades. Samsung is putting up a high-rise that is about to change everything.
Samsung is putting up what it hopes will be a new headquarters that reflects the kind of innovative technology it's producing -- a 10-story, $300 million building with a center courtyard and places for people to interact.
"This project will help Silicon Valley [become a] more attractive region and high-tech world," Samsung CEO O. H. Kwon said.
Work spaces will be open to invite collaboration and no one will be more than a floor away from an area that opens to the outdoors. The architect says that helps employees to stay focused on their mission.
"They know where you're going, you can talk to each other more quickly, they can have those impromptu meetings that are really hard to have if you're cross-town," NBBJ architect Jonathan Ward said.
It will be home to Samsung's research and development. It will also be a place for customer meetings. There could also be a public showcase of the latest Samsung technology, similar to one at its Korean headquarters.
Samsung expects to do aggressive hiring, but isn't saying how many employees it will add.
At a groundbreaking ceremony, next-door neighbor Cisco joked about poaching its employees.
"And I'll continue to be pleased if you don't recruit up and down Tasman Drive as you add those several thousand people to your campus," Cisco Senior Vice president of Operations Randy Pond said.
Planning officials in San Jose see Samsung's new building as a catalyst for other companies to re-do their offices to recruit talent.
"They can work anywhere around the world, so they're looking for something that reflects creativity, and so I think it is raising the bar, and we're seeing now other companies start to look at their campuses that were really built essentially like Ford Tauruses -- very efficient but not a lot of pizzazz," San Jose Planning Director Joe Horwedel said.