eBay "Right-Sizing" Operations As Draper, UT Campus Goes Up For Sale

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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eBay is looking for a new home in Utah as the 240,000-square-foot building, 36-acre campus in Draper that has been the main hub for its US-based customer service and trust and safety operations since 2013 goes up for sale.

According to Building Salt Lake, Colliers broker Brandon Fugal was originally tasked with trying to sublease about 100,000 square feet of the building but eBay has since decided to put the whole thing on the market.

eBay Looking to Relocate After Listing Draper Office for Sale
Tech giant eBay is searching for a new home for its hundreds of employees in Utah after listing its regional headquarters in Draper for sale.

The location is notable for its easy access to a FrontRunner transit station, but as expected for any Silicon Valley tech giant, the amenities don't stop there.

“Being a true transit-oriented development campus differentiates it from everything else in the market. The plug and play turnkey nature of the campus with its extraordinary amenity space including 400-seat auditorium, full cafeteria, fitness facility and outdoor amenity areas, makes it ideal for recruitment and retention.”

Photos courtesy of Colliers International – Utah
Photos courtesy of Colliers International – Utah
Photos courtesy of Colliers International – Utah

Interestingly, while eBay did not respond to Building Salt Lake's request for comment, their broker very directly said eBay is not laying anyone at this location off at this time, though the recent round of layoffs in January and increased remote work are likely contributing factors to the decision to sell.

Utah’s tech industry hasn’t been immune from the shake-ups caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the high interest rate environment. eBay laid off 9 percent of its global workforce in January, though it’s not clear how many of those 1,000 employees were in Utah.

Those layoffs, paired with the rise in remote work, likely drastically decreased the company’s need for its existing building. Many of eBay’s employees in Utah work remotely for most of the week.

The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the size of its workforce in the state, though it is likely lower than it was when the company built the campus.

“They have over 500 personnel in this market. They’re not laying any of them off,” Fugal said. “They will continue to maintain their over 500 strong workforce in the Utah market. They’re just simply going to right-size and transition to space that is more appropriate for their current size and footprint.”

That being said, eBay continues to increase their use of AI for critical support, trust and safety functionality that used to be handled by humans - some of whom were located at the Draper campus.

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Over/around 500 employees is significantly lower than when the facility was built in 2013 - at that time eBay had ~1,400 employees in the state and said it expected to employ an additional 2,200 people over the next 20 years, as revealed in a now archived article from the Salt Lake Tribune.

According to then SVP Marketplace and Global Customer Services Steve Boehm, eBay "concluded Draper was the right location for this expansion"after the board of the Governor's Office of Economic Development approved a one-time $38.2 million tax incentive for the company.

The incentive was contingent on eBay fulfilling its jobs commitment over the next two decades, with salaries for the jobs at least 125 percent of the average Salt Lake County salary of $42,600.

If eBay met those goals, the GOED projected the Draper operation would generate an additional $127.2 million in state tax revenue over 20 years from higher employee withholding and corporate income and sales taxes from company purchases.

Clearly, the company has failed to live up to their end of the bargain, but it is unclear how much, if any, money eBay may have received or if there may be any consequences (financial or otherwise) for not meeting those commitments.

If they did receive payments for that deal, I'd strongly suggest the Utah GOED look into requiring eBay to pay them back - like California is considering doing with the sales tax sharing deal the company made with the city of San Jose that has come under recent scrutiny.

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While eBay may be "right-sizing" their US operational footprint, they've been expanding in others areas, like opening a new Australia headquarters in Sydney earlier this year.

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!