Tech behemoth Grass Valley shows off $3M renovation | TheUnion.com

Tech behemoth Grass Valley shows off $3M renovation

Keri Brenner
Staff Writer

Broadcast equipment giant Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, on Wednesday celebrated completion of a $3 million renovation that will keep the world-renowned company in Nevada County as the central and major player in an ongoing "Video Valley" technology cluster development.

"I think it's very nice to have Grass Valley back in Grass Valley," said Grass Valley Mayor Jason Fouyer in an ebullient ribbon-cutting ceremony before about 150 workers, contractors, city and county officials and residents. "They have the entire world they could have moved to, and they chose to keep it here."

Keoni Allen, head of Sierra Foothills Construction, said his firm finished the floor-to-ceiling renovation of the 41,000-square-foot building at 125 Crown Point Court in 115 days. The building formerly was home to Miranda Technologies, acquired by Grass Valley's parent company Belden Inc. in 2012.

In 2014, Belden merged operations of Miranda and Grass Valley — the latter has been in Nevada County since it launched in 1959, but formerly was located in Nevada City.

“I think it’s very nice to have Grass Valley back in Grass Valley. They have the entire world they could have moved to, and they chose to keep it here.”Grass Valley Mayor Jason Fouyer

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"We have a really good team that have worked together over the years," said Allen of the renovation that included new high-tech labs, team cubicles, numerous conference rooms, a cafeteria and a large training area for customers and staff. "That's what made it happen."

Renovations, Allen said, went on even as Grass Valley engineers and other workers continued tinkering with their two major product lines — switchers and routers for use in video broadcasts.

An estimated 96 percent of all TV sports programs broadcast in North America use Grass Valley switchers, officials said.

"It's still hard to not call it The Group," said Fouyer of Grass Valley. "Growing up here, I have huge numbers of friends and family who have worked here over the years."

Marco Lopez, president of Grass Valley, said broadcast is one of four global platforms of Belden Inc., a $2.4 billion company traded on the NYSE as BDL. Broadcast accounts for about $1 billion of the company's revenue. Grass Valley contributes about $500 million to that $1 billion, Lopez said.

"Broadcast for Belden is 40 percent of revenue," he added. "It's very important."

Jon Gregory, head of the Economic Resource Council of Nevada County, said Grass Valley is a major part of a regional innovation project that has received a $500,000 grant to form a high-tech digital media campus locally. Most of the area's other tech companies are spinoffs of Grass Valley or were formed by ex-employees.

"It's amazing that all the major sports events are driven by technology that originated at Grass Valley," Gregory said. "Grass Valley is an economic game changer."

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email kbrenner@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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