Expansion aplenty continues at Facebook, as news broke of the company acquiring more property adjacent to its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., as well as adding space to its New York office and moving to a larger location in Singapore.
Silicon Valley Business Journal reported that Facebook purchased a 56-acre industrial park directly south of its Menlo Park headquarters from Prologis, for an estimated $400 million.
The Prologis Willow Park complex may not necessarily be earmarked for more office space, however, with Silicon Valley Business Journal reporting that options such as mixed-use housing, retail and a hotel are on the table.
Facebook director of real estate John Tenanes spoke with Silicon Valley Business Journal, saying:
We feel you just can’t build a corporate campus: It has to be integrated into the community.
Facebook will continue to grow over time, and there’s a limited supply of land. This is really looking at our future.
If you go to the grocery store, you have to go to Safeway, and it takes 30 minutes. Our employees want to go to the grocery store. The neighbors want to go to the grocery store.
We’ve been involved. We’ve listened. We know what they’re looking for in terms of their needs.
We need to get our work done. How you do that is you work together. We think the way this visioning plan will come out there will be opportunities for mixed use, retail, that is public. Potentially, we’ve talked about grocery stores and retail and perhaps other things.
Tenanes also addressed concerns over the environmental and logistical impact of Facebook’s expansion, telling Silicon Valley Business Journal:
We think there is a way to (connect Facebook’s Menlo Park sites). We can create pedestrian paths, use the inactive Dumbarton rail line in some way and potentially build bike bridges. There will be many different options for both neighbors and Facebook employees to get back and forth.
Imagine people riding their bikes, running, or using (the Dumbarton rail line) for walking their dog to Redwood City. Wouldn’t it be great if someone came up with an idea on how to activate it?
We see other opportunities that promote the community, including the possibility to close the Bay Trail gap (a 1.5-mile gap on the San Francisco Bay trail, where bicyclists and pedestrians must share a sidewalk-free street with cars). Fixing the gap would improve traffic and provide a nice connection to the area — something we see as an important project.
Menlo Park City Manager Alex McIntyre weighed in on Facebook’s plans with Silicon Valley Business Journal, saying:
I tell people Facebook’s here to stay, and they’re going to become something very different from what they were in their infancy.
I think the notion of the insular campus — they do have that right now, and there’s a reason for it. But they also acknowledge they can’t come in and keep expanding and put the fence bigger and bigger. They are listening to that.
From what I understand, Facebook is not looking to move in tomorrow. This is going to be a long process. Where there’s employment value — if we can retain it, or if we need to relocate it — that would be great.
Menlo Park economic development manager Jim Cogan added:
I think their taking part in and supporting the general plan speaks to their interest in doing what the city and community wants. The exciting thing is, we have the ability to do something that’s radically different from any other campus of any other employer.
The company announced in late December that it would begin work on one of the buildings in the 59-acre, 10-building site at 300 Constitution Ave. in Menlo Park, Calif., its “third campus,” which it acquired from TE Connectivity last June, while formulating a “master plan” for the other nine buildings.
As for the Big Apple, The Real Deal reported that Facebook signed a lease to add 80,000 square feet to its existing offices at 770 Broadway, giving the social network the entire 15th floor — the building’s penthouse space — and bringing its total space in the building to 270,000 square feet.
Facebook officially introduced its New York space, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, last November.
Finally, in Singapore, The Business Times reported that Facebook is “in advanced stages of negotiations” to sign a lease for some 70,000 square feet in South Beach Tower, which would basically double its current space at 158 Cecil St.
The Business Times reported that construction on the 34-story South Beach Tower wrapped during the fourth quarter of 2014, and a temporary occupation permit must be secured from the Building and Construction Authority.
Readers: What do you think about all of this expansion?
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