Almanac

News - December 8, 2010

Facebook seeks new home, maybe in Menlo

• The Oracle campus in Menlo Park is a possibility, but it's not vacant.

by Sandy Brundage

Social networking behemoth Facebook is hoping to connect with larger digs, and Menlo Park's Oracle campus is one of several sites under consideration. However, contrary to news reports, an afternoon tour showed that the 2.5-million-square-foot Willow Road campus is not yet vacant.

Facebook remains mum about its interest in the campus despite a Daily Post story on Nov. 30 that broke the news.

Dave Johnson, manager of the city's business development department, referred all inquiries to Facebook, after sharing this statement:

"Facebook is exploring options for a long-term location to fit its growing business needs. They are in the due diligence phase on potential sites, but it would be premature to offer any specifics. They hope to have more to share in the near future once things have been finalized."

Facebook corporate communications director Larry Yu confirmed there's not much to report. "Generally we're looking for a site that can accommodate our growth over the long term," he said.

Mayor Rich Cline suggested not taking the rumors too seriously. "Any rumor about Facebook — given the nature of Silicon Valley — is only a rumor until someone actually signs a deal. Facebook, Google and Yahoo! are probably the center of the most rumors in business," he said.

Oracle declined to comment on when it might vacate the Menlo Park campus at Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway, formerly a Sun Microsystems site. The company bought Sun Microsystems in January for $7.4 billion. The San Mateo County Assessor's office decided three months ago that the sale required a reassessment of the property.

Reassessment of the campus, now assessed at $355.4 million, could boost or decrease property tax revenues for Menlo Park, but that won't be known for certain until the process is completed by June 2011.

However, any increase won't replenish the city's general fund since the campus lies within redevelopment agency boundaries, according to city staff. Any increased property tax would funnel back only into redevelopment projects.

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