Officials at the city of Glendale said Thursday they were surprised Wednesday by the announcement that Nestle USA will relocate its headquarters to Rosslyn, Virginia, starting later this year, uprooting 1,200 employees.
“If given the chance, we would have gone after them," said Darlene Sanchez, deputy director of economic development for Glendale. "Where there’s a will there’s a way and if Nestle was interested in that, we would have given it our best shot."
Nestle has stated its main reason for moving was geographic, which of course Glendale can't do anything about.
"Currently, 75 percent of Nestlé USA’s factories and 85 percent of its top customers are located in the eastern half of the United States," the company said in a statement. "In addition, 80 percent of the company’s products are sold east of the Mississippi River."
The company does not mention the millions of taxpayer money it will receive: $10 million in grants from Virginia and another $4 million from Arlington County, which is also throwing in another $2 million for infrastructure improvements around Nestle's new headquarters.
Sanchez says the city would have worked with California legislators to craft a similar package, if given the chance.
"Was there a certain dollar amount to keep them here? We would have worked with them to figure out what that was," said Sanchez.
Though it is a big blow to lose 1,200 jobs and one of its largest companies, Sanchez says the city will use Nestle's departure as an opportunity.
“Glendale has been in this position before and we’ve worked really hard – particularly over the last four years – to diversify what our office makeup looks like," Sanchez said, referring to the banks and financial services companies the city lost after the Great Recession.
Sanchez says the city now has over 1,000 tech companies and is known for being one of the most business-friendly city in L.A. County because it has no business tax, low property taxes, and flexible zoning. The city also has a business concierge program to quickly respond to companies' needs.
“There would never be a good time to lose a company like this, but it does present another opportunity for Glendale," said Sanchez.