The nation's second-largest waste hauler and operator of the controversial Sunshine Canyon landfill will move its western regional headquarters from San Jose to Sun Valley, company officials announced Tuesday.
Browning-Ferris Industries Inc. says the relocation to a small office center at Glenoaks Boulevard and Randall Street will help the company compete better in what it sees as a lucrative market in Southern California.
"When other companies are moving out of this area, we are choosing to expand here," Ron Pfeifer, BFI's western regional vice president told about 30 employees and dignitaries gathered in the parking lot of the new office Tuesday.
BFI was welcomed by Los Angeles Councilman Joel Wachs.
"We in politics have not had much opportunity to welcome businesses to Los Angeles," Wachs said. "There is a new tone in the City Council that says business is good for the city."
The Houston-based company plans to hire only 10 new employees and transfer another 30 from its San Jose office, Pfeifer said.
The move places the headquarters closer to BFI's Sunshine Canyon facility, and comes two weeks after the county Board of Supervisors approved a 17-million-ton expansion of a portion of Sunshine Canyon Landfill, which straddles the city-county boundary north of Granada Hills.
Officials from the company said the corporate relocation was in the works before the supervisors' decision, which allows BFI to dump trash in the part of the landfill under county jurisdiction. The company's permit to operate the city side of the dump expired last year and has not been renewed.
"It's not related to that, other than the fact that this is a large market for us. This move was planned before that," Pfeifer said of the Sunshine Canyon decision, which is being contested by environmentalists.
BFI recently reorganized nationwide and dropped several regions from its business map, said Pfeifer. The move to Los Angeles came as part of that reshuffling, he said.
BFI's relocation follows an unsuccessful $520-million merger attempt with Western Waste Industries Inc. of Torrance, Los Angeles County's largest trash hauling company, which employs about 900 Southland residents.