Sunset will move its headquarters from the Menlo Park campus it has occupied since 1951 to Jack London Square in Oakland in December, Sunset's parent company, Time Inc., announced Monday.
The announcement ends more than six months of speculation as to where Sunset would end up, following the news that Time intended to sell the 7-acre property at 80 Willow Road.
The new headquarters will be located at 55 Harrison St. in the same building that will house the Water Street Market, an artisan food marketplace being developed by Carlin Company, the team behind San Francisco's Ferry Building Marketplace and Napa's Oxbow Public Market. Sunset will occupy approximately 20,000 square feet on the second floor of the mixed-use building, and its offices will include a test kitchen and wine cellar, Time's press release states.
"Sunset founded its campus in Menlo Park in 1951, when people were moving to the suburbs across the United States," said Peggy Northrop, editor-in-chief of Sunset, in an interview with the Almanac, the Weekly's sister paper. "Now, people are moving closer to urban cores, reusing formerly industrial spaces, and being closer to jobs and food scenes. Sunset is reflecting a trend that our readers are living. In that sense, a magazine always wants to be close to its readers. This is an opportunity for us to do that."
"We are pleased to welcome Sunset, its staff, and its amazing test kitchen to the Water Street Market building," said James Ellis, managing principal of Ellis Partners, developer and manager of Jack London Square. Ellis Partners was also responsible for the redevelopment of Palo Alto's Town & Country Village shopping center.
In addition to its new location in Oakland, Sunset will also operate out of Cornerstone, a public garden, event and retail space in Sonoma. Sunset's main test garden, an outdoor kitchen and on-site programming will be offered there.
The Menlo Park property was sold to Embarcadero Capital Partners, a real estate investment and management firm based in Belmont, the Weekly's sister paper, the Almanac, reported last December.
The campus reportedly sold for $78 million, less than the rumored asking price of $84 million, according to Almanac sources.
Sunset was founded as a travel magazine, which was purchased by Laurence W. Lane for $65,000 in 1928. Lane moved the publication from San Francisco to Menlo Park in 1951, and in 1952, sons Bill and Mel Lane took over company operations.
Sunset was one of the first tenants in Menlo Park's innovative garden office zone, established under Mayor Charles Burgess, according to a 1998 Almanac article by Marion Softky.
"There were no electric signs, no commercial retail and no manufacturing. It was perfect," said Mel Lane.
Residential architect Cliff May designed his first commercial building to resemble an early Spanish ranch home. Set on 7 acres adjacent to San Francisquito Creek, the adobe building with the patios and test kitchens was surrounded by spacious gardens designed by Thomas Church.
"It became a laboratory for western living and model for what the magazine promoted," said Bill Lane in the 1998 article.
The elegant headquarters also became a popular tourist destination as Gray Line made it a stop on its tours, and residents brought friends and out-of-town visitors to peer into the kitchens and stroll through the gardens. There was a time when 75,000 people a year took the Sunset tour, Softky wrote.
The Lane brothers sold the company to Time Warner in 1990 for $225 million. Mel Lane died in 2007 and Bill Lane in 2010.
The annual Sunset Celebration Weekend, its last in Menlo Park, will take place this weekend, June 6 to 7. Sunset editors, celebrity chefs and lifestyle experts from across the West will bring the brand to life, showcasing the region's hottest trends in food, wine, travel, garden and home. Tickets and more information are available at sunset.com/cw.
Sunset produces lifestyle content through magazines and books, events and experiences, and digital and social media. It offers five regional print editions -- Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Southern California, Southwest and Mountain. In addition to its print and digital publications, Sunset showcases the region's unique lifestyle and noteworthy destinations through its flagship events, established home programs, licensing partnerships, books and International Wine Competition, the company stated.