Employees at the Yahoo! Center on Colorado Avenue head for lunch on Tuesday. They will soon be joined by employees from the online dating website eHarmony, which plans to occupy 65,000 square feet there. (photo by Ray Solano)

DOWNTOWN — It could be a match made in heaven.

eHarmony, one of the world’s leaders in online dating, is moving its corporate headquarters from Pasadena to Santa Monica, officials with the company confirmed Tuesday.

The company, which was launched in 2000 and now claims over 20 million registered users, plans to occupy a 65,000-square-foot space at the Yahoo! Center on the eastside of town. The company plans to relocate 250 employees to Santa Monica and hire an additional 50 by the end of the year.

Several sources in Pasadena said e-Harmony is moving to Santa Monica because its top executives live in the area. However, officials with the company said they are relocating “to be closer to the vast majority of Internet and technology companies in the area and the larger technology workforce that lives in that part of Los Angeles.”

City officials in Pasadena, along with representatives from the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, had several meetings with eHarmony brass, trying to convince them to stay. While eHarmony does not contributed a significant amount of sales tax revenue to Pasadena, the spending power of its employees is a significant benefit, said Paul Little, president of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.

“Studies … show that employees spend anywhere from $5 to $9 a day in the area where they work, and that’s a significant amount of money every year when you look at how many employees [eHarmony] has,” Little said. “The other part is eHarmony is a very high-profile company. Everyone sees those ads.”

Nancy D. Sidhu, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., said restaurants in and around the Yahoo! Center will benefit tremendously from the move.

“This is a good employer and it brings high-paying jobs,” she said.

Sidhu said it is not unusual for a company to move headquarters strictly because those in charge want to work closer to home, especially in Southern California where commutes can be burdensome. Santa Monica is attractive because of its location, its collection of top media and entertainment companies as well as its proximity to LAX and the Santa Monica Airport.

eHarmony is a company on the rise, adding 30 percent of its staff in 2010, officials with the company said.

The move is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

“If you have to leave Pasadena, about the only place you might want to consider would be Santa Monica,” Little said. “We hate to see them go, but sometimes that’s just how business works.”


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