Mario jumping to the Peninsula

Nintendo will move more than 50 employees from its Redmond, Wash., headquarters to town this October to be closer to Silicon Valley’s action.

Roughly 55 members of the video-game company’s sales and marketing team will relocate to Redwood City, while another 25 will station themselves in New York, according to Julia Roether, a spokeswoman for the firm. With Sony in nearby Foster City, San Mateo County will soon host makers oftwo of the three major game consoles.

The Peninsula — along with San Francisco — is home to major gamemakers from Sega and Ubisoft in The City to Electronic Arts and Capcom in San Mateo County and Namco in San Jose, according to Tammy Schachter, spokeswoman for EA.

“This creates a nucleus of the industry in the Bay Area,” Schachter said. “Having a talent pool in the Bay Area with people who are experienced, either in game development, marketing or publishing, is a huge advantage to being here.”

While Nintendo wants its marketing staff to be in the thick of the booming Silicon Valley video game scene, the Japan-based company will maintain its American headquarters in Redmond, according to Roether.

Higher-ups at Nintendo were not available for comment Monday on the Redwood City move.

Although Redwood City has made a name for itself as ground zero for high-end tech companies such as EA, Oracle and PDI Dreamworks, it has done so without any special incentives or tax breaks, according to Pat Webb, the city’s economic development director.

More than 10 years ago, the Redwood City Council voted against offering high-tech firms tax discounts for moving to town.

“Shortly after that, we went into a cycle that was so robust, all of our office space filled up,” said Webb, who attributes Redwood City’s success to its geographic location.

Its proximity to San Francisco, San Jose, two bridges to the East Bay and to the Pacific coast makes many firms want to move in — such as Protein Design Labs BioPharma, which is taking up residence in the Pacific Shores Center near PDI Dreamworks.

While commercial vacancies were as high as 40 percent during the dot-com bust, they’re now down to roughly 10 percent, according to Webb. And, the city has maintained a business-friendly reputation, according to Bruce Paris, vice president with real-estate brokers CBRichard Ellis.

“No city is more pro-development and open to change — they have a big-picture view,” Paris said.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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