In another signal of its growing South Florida presence, the secretive technology company Magic Leap is consolidating the majority of its Florida workforce into a former Motorola facility in Plantation.
The company, led by Mako Surgical co-founder Rony Abovitz, will be occupying the facility at 8000 W. Sunrise Blvd., said Andy Fouché, head of public relations and government affairs for Magic Leap. Magic Leap would not disclose timing of its move.
According to Broward County property records, the facility once owned by Motorola is 339,813 square feet in size and last sold for $38 million in 2013 to a private investment group. The Plantation site has five sections and reportedly now houses Motorola Solutions, Motorola Mobility and other tenants.
The heavily funded Magic Leap says it is developing a new “mixed reality” computing platform that will “enable people to interact with the world in ways never before possible.” Magic Leap, believed to have hundreds of employees and many of them now working in its base at DCOTA in Dania Beach, also has offices in Santa Cruz, Los Angeles and Mountain View, all in California, Seattle, Austin, Texas, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
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In early June at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Digital conference in San Francisco, Abovitz said Magic Leap will build a 300,000-square-foot pilot manufacturing facility in Florida for its “photonic lightfield chip.” Fouché would not confirm if this was the same facility but it is about the same size. He would also not say how many employees would be working at the Plantation facility.
In February before Abovitz gave a speech at his alma mater, the University of Miami, the CEO told the Miami Herald that Magic Leap was approaching “a few hundred” employees spread between Dania and Mountain View, Calif., as well as New Zealand and London. Abovitz said then he would like to base 80 percent of the company in South Florida.
More than 100 jobs were listed on its website this week, including optical, systems, software and vision systems engineers, machine learning positions, designers, art directors and cinematic producers, most of them for South Florida, but some were in Mountain View and Austin, Texas.
One of the first articles that have begun to explain the technology was published earlier this year in the MIT Technology Review. Said the writer, Rachel Metz, who tried an early prototype of the technology: “It’s safe to say Magic Leap has a tiny projector that shines light onto a transparent lens, which deflects the light onto the retina. That pattern of light blends in so well with the light you’re receiving from the real world that to your visual cortex, artificial objects are nearly indistinguishable from actual objects.”
The company raised more than half a billion dollars in a funding round led by Google last fall.
Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg