Los Alamos, NM — Los Alamos County announced today that Los Alamos and Los Alamos-based Descartes Labs has signed a lease on a 3,000 square foot commercial building abutting Los Alamos Canyon in downtown Los Alamos. The property located at 1925 W. Trinity Drive was built in 2012 by the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities in partnership with the Japanese government’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) who invested $30 million in Los Alamos to test and validate smart electric grid equipment capabilities. After NEDO completed their research, the building sat vacant for over a year and was recently remodeled to accommodate commercial office use.
Descartes Labs had outgrown their former space in Los Alamos and was being heavily courted to relocate to another community. The vacant NEDO smart house was quickly converted by the County to serve the needs of a new high tech firm like Descartes, removing bedroom walls to create an open floor plan with just a few small offices. The building already contained a full kitchen with top of the line Japanese smart appliances, a solar array, and LED lighting.
“We are pleased to retain this outstanding group of individuals to live and work in Los Alamos,” said Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess. “Too often in the past Los Alamos has lost talent evolving out of the laboratory to other places, and in the case of Descartes Labs we made a concerted effort to retain them in our community.” Burgess went on to thank the County Council and staff for their quick response to the opportunity to retain Descartes Labs in downtown Los Alamos.
Over the past five years Los Alamos County has invested nearly $60 million to upgrade its aging Cold War infrastructure in a community most famously known as one of the secret sites of the Manhattan Project that led to the ending of World War II. Today Los Alamos is a bustling national laboratory community of 18,000 people and 17,000 jobs, constituting one of the largest science and technology employment centers in the Southwest. The community is also known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, as well as its historical and cultural features dating back to prehistoric Puebloan times.
Descartes Labs is a rapidly expanding company with a mission to apply artificial intelligence to satellite imagery, enabling a more accurate understanding of the Earth. Descartes Labs’ underlying technology and six founding scientists came from Los Alamos National Laboratory. The company has raised $8.3M of venture capital, largely from out-of-state. Today the company employs nearly 20 people split between offices in downtown San Francisco and Los Alamos. The Los Alamos branch of the Descartes Labs will initially employ 11 people.
Descartes Labs CEO Mark Johnson commented on the move, “I’m proud to call Los Alamos ‘headquarters’ for Descartes Labs. We have access to incredible talent in this community and I couldn’t be happier that we found an office to accommodate our growth. Los Alamos has been wonderful to work with and I look forward to continuing the conversation as we continue to grow.”
Greg Fisher, Economic Vitality Administrator
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