Amid Rumors To The Contrary, Facebook Will Stay In Menlo Park

Facebook continues to negotiate with Menlo Park city officials for permission to expand, but would consider another property across the bay if things didn't work out.

Facebook barely finished moving into its new headquarters in Menlo Park and yet a handful of local publications have run articles this week about the social network’s real estate staff eyeing digs in another suburb.

The company’s demands for more local infrastructure than the original move-in involved has also inspired national media coverage of negotiations with Menlo Park city officials, but for now both sides have a long-term view of Facebook’s occupancy in the area.

Tucker Bounds, a Facebook spokesperson, commented:

It’s our hope that Menlo Park and East Palo Alto see the incredible economic benefits to having a good neighbor, like Facebook, join the community. We expect to grow and thrive responsibly in Menlo Park, but it’s important for us to evaluate other options in the case that our plans are not fully approved and supported.

Menlo Park city council has yet to approve Facebook’s proposed expansion plans that would enable the company to house up to 9,400 employees, something the social network had first asked for almost a full year ago.

The way Facebook wants to allocate this, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, is:

6,600 on the campus it now occupies and 2,800 on a nearby campus it wants to build. It is only permitted to have up to 3,600 at the original site now.

Facebook is seeking approval to add five buildings totaling 440,000 square feet on 22 acres at 312 and 313 Constitution Drive across Bayfront Expressway. The original campus and the new one would be connected by an underground tunnel.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal learned from a realtor that Facebook had previously looked at a similarly-sized property, Pacific Research Center, across the bay in Newark, California, a while ago and was going to keep that property in mind as a backup option in case things didn’t work out in Menlo Park.

In the mean time, Facebook has offered to keep more of its employees off the local roads during rush hours — hello, shuttle service — if Menlo Park would allow the social network to staff up at that location. According to The Almanac News:

Facebook is asking Menlo Park to swap an existing cap of 3,600 employees for a traffic cap instead at its main Willow Road campus — now known as 1 Hacker Way. The requested cap is for 15,000 daily trips, with 2,600 during rush hour.

Menlo Park officials said they’d consider that request if Facebook ponied up more money for infrastructure, among other concessions.

With plans well underway for an initial public offer, the likelihood that the social network would pick up and move seems slim (quite possibly, some of the 31 investment banks underwriting the IPO may have designs on bond-financing the municipal infrastructure that will accommodate the ongoing expansion in Menlo Park.)

Yet Menlo Park has enough affluence among existing occupants to make it a demanding negotiator with Facebook.