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Facebook checks real estate elsewhere

Original post made on Mar 16, 2012

Dust has yet to settle on renovations at Facebook's new Menlo Park headquarters, and while the company doesn't seem to want to leave any time soon, it's made a cursory check of real estate in other cities just in case negotiations over its planned campus expansion fall apart.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 16, 2012, 11:45 AM

Comments (43)

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Posted by MP 34 year resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I just read the list of 'public benefits and mitigations' the MP Council wants from Facebook. I think a few more should be added. My street needs repaving, many city trees are getting a bit too bushy and I could really use a new Range Rover! Come on City Council!! Reasonable people need to have reasonable demands.


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Posted by Maximus
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

It would certainly make more sense if the mitigations had a direct relationship to the traffic issues: bike paths, buses to and from the train, buses for local citizens to relieve congestion, especially during morning commute, hiring people from the neighborhood who are less likely to car commute, road maintanence funds, etc.

The items mentioned in the article seem like a grab bag.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Mar 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm

While I have not kept up with the details of the process of 'welcoming' Facebook headquarters to Menlo Park, what I have read makes me wonder whether Menlo Park really wants business (and the ensuing revenue to the city coffers) at all? If the City continues to make demands on this and other companies who want to locate here, they will drive existing, and also future businesses away. From what I have read in this newspaper, I wouldn't locate my successful business here. Places like Fremont are much more accomodating.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by zuck sucks
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Anyone who saw the movie knows that Zuckerberg cannot be trusted. Menlo Park is foolish for playing along with his spyware company.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ron
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm

It's about time we put our hands back in our pockets and welcomed a company to Menlo Park that will provide us an economic uptick.

Let's not screw this up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Facebook will make an important contribution to this area. I urge the City of Menlo Park to have a truly independent and hands off EIR prepared that details the impact of the proposed impact on our communities and then deal ONLY with mitigation to those specific impacts. And that means that the City Council members needs to stop looking at Facebook as a bank to fund all of their favorite personal ideas or to cure the City's financial problems.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by what revenue?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Facebook doesn't pay sales tax revenue. That is what Menlo Park needs. Real estate is getting tighter for large commercial properties in mid-peninsula. The city should hang tough so Facebook's arrival is more than glitter. We might actually better our hand if Facebook won't commit to basic improvements and in lieu fees.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is short sighted to think solely in terms of sales tax revenues. Facebook brings bright people and money to our community and we need both. Smart people with money contribute to the local economy through their economic activities.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by what revenue?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Wouldn't the employees of another employer be bright and have money, too? Only part of what they spend will go to Menlo Park.

It is short sighted NOT to think of sales tax revenue.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Mar 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm

City Council, be smart. There's a way to make this work for all parties. We're too jaded around here. Think about how many cities in America would kill to have FB headquartered in their town.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I would like to see evidence that our council is asking for too much or is somehow causing FB to look elsewhere. Until then, this is the same crap we see. Articles without substance and Peter Carpenter acting like he knows something more than we all do.

This is all ridiculous hype garbage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Wouldn't the employees of another employer be bright and have money, too?"

Please list another employer wants to place 7000 new employees in our community.

Or even one that is willing to put 100 employees in our community?

Don't be short sighted.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I would like to see evidence that our council is asking for too much or is somehow causing FB to look elsewhere."

You did not do your homework - here are the facts:

Here are excerpts from the staff report:

RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends that the City Council provide direction for negotiating the

Development Agreement for the Facebook East Campus Project located at 1601 Willow

Road based on the following parameters:

1. Provide a source of on-going revenue for as long as the land use entitlement to

exceed 3,600 employees is in place.

2. Provide one-time items in the form of public improvements or studies that would

benefit the surrounding area.

3. Provide a mechanism for funding programs and services that meet on-going

community needs.

4. Pursue a commitment to fund housing opportunities in the City and surrounding

region.

5. Pursue a trip cap penalty amount that is severe enough to ensure compliance

with the project description.

Attachment A

Facebook Campus Project

Public Benefit Ideas

February 14, 2012

 Improved bicycle access to the site, including improvements to the Bay Trail,

freeway overcrossing, and commonly used bicycle access routes to the site;

 In-lieu fee for loss of tax revenue;

 Use of Facebook shuttles for public transportation, similar to the Marguerite

shuttle system implemented by Stanford;

 Revenue for Menlo Park City School District;

 Improvements to Flood Park;

 Landscape and street sign improvements along Willow Road;

 Provision of free wireless access to Belle Haven;

 Construction of a centrally located library branch at Ivy Drive Plaza;

 Installation of bus shelters at key locations;

 Improvement of existing City resources, including the Senior Center, Belle Haven

Library and Belle Haven pool;

 Construction of a housing complex at Flood Park;

 Installation of public art;

 Financial support for senior/low income households and transit oriented

development;

 Provision of a major grocery store in Belle Haven;

 Provision of job opportunities with preference given to Menlo Park residents;

 Facebook funded employee supported mentorship and volunteer programs;

 Provision of child care for Facebook employees and the public;

 Construction of a sound wall between Kelly Park and US 101; and

 Native landscape plantings along Bayfront Expressway.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm

This proves my point! Peter Carpenter, instead of telling you all the truth, lies to you by pasting a list of public benefits topics council discussed in a public meeting.

The council never directed the city to ask for it all. Never.

Peter, this is a straight up lie. Shame on you, but thanks for making my point.

Go to the meeting video -- and you will all see how much of a lie this is.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The council never directed the city to ask for it all. Never."

We don't know as those discussions are being held in secret by the committee of two council members and the senior city staff.

Perhaps 'truth' can tell us what has been decided in these secret meetings.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Facebook left Palo Alto after the city forced them into a transportation demand program which meant busing in their workers. Now they're finding that Menlo Park is just as bad. They're going to move. No rational person would submit to the city's shakedown. Our cities have this attitude that you can take money from earners/achievers and give it to others who don't work. It's called redistribution of wealth. I doubt FB will put up with it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Redwood City would be happy to welcome Facebook. We won't hassle you. We'll take your money. (No need to cross the bay!)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:02 pm

We have public record of a council specifically stating they should not ask for everything.

[Portion removed; don't attack other posters]

Just watch the meetings on the topic. There is NO ambiguity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"council specifically stating they should not ask for everything."

On the contrary, the council directed that negotiations proceed in accordance with the staff recommendations.

Evidence to the contrary, not just 'we have a public record', would be appreciated - like a url with a time spot of any contrary direction.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm

I don't know why we have to spend time proving that your comments are false when you should be the one who should be sure you are being truthful. It is your reputation.

Try 2/14 around 3:45 into the meeting.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

More facts:

The agenda for the Feb 28 meeting lists the following topic:
F1. Direction on the parameters for negotiating the Development Agreement for the
Facebook East Campus located at 1601 Willow Road (Staff report #12-029)

However the draft minutes for that meeting posted at
Web Link

don't include any discussion on this topic. Why?

Very strange.........


 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Stop the drivel and go look at the comments.

You have lied plenty for tonight.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Truth - why do you have such a hard time dealing with facts?

I welcome contrary evidence - url, etc.

And remember "Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rusty
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Peter,

I followed the link and watched the video. Truth is right. You seem unable to gracefully acknowledge - what's wrong with you?. It's easy to check.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rusty and Truth -You are both simply wrong. I watched the video and Council not only did NOT remove any of the proposed terms but Cohen suggested adding a percentage of Facebook ad revenues and Keith proposed adding child care to the items to be negotiated.

Facts are important and neither of you have provide any contrary evidence.

For those interested in the facts the video is at:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rusty
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I appreciate Mr. Carpenter's cries for transparency in city business (even if it isn't the city he resides in) and do agree with his thinking that mitigation of Facebook impact should be done at regional level with Menlo Park as the responsible agency. But he's egregiously, intractable when others are right.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rusty -You are simply wrong. I watched the video and Council not only did NOT remove any of the proposed terms but Cohen suggested adding a percentage of Facebook ad revenues and Keith proposed adding child care to the items to be negotiated. What evidence do you have to the contrary?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Clear as day I hear at least two council members state that this the city has to be realistic and work as a partner with FB. I heard folks talk about areas of need and heard them state that FB should not be held accountable to rescue the budget drop.

Now that is the council you claimed was tying to take FB and causing them to threaten to leave.

There is no evidence of your lie holding truth. Not a shred. You made the accusation. Stop trying to hide behind yourself. Back up the statement with something more than a list of what public benefit could be.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm

And to remind you.

"And that means that the City Council members needs to stop looking at Facebook as a bank to fund all of their favorite personal ideas or to cure the City's financial problems."

Prove that is happening and I will fall in line.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Details
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm

If you would all stop yelling at each other you would notice you all have points. Peter is right. The special interest list is long. Truth and rusty are right, at different times different council members said FB can't do everything, but none cut anything from the list.

Hopefully the negotiations are more focused. My bet is FB isnt going anywhere, as no public official will want to be blamed for losing them, and FB wants to stay.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I urge everyone to watch the video of the Council discussion of this matter. The Facebook discussion begins at about 2hrs and 1min 28 sec in the video.

Web Link

At no time did the Council tell the staff to withdraw ANY of its recommendation and Cohen and Keith suggested additional items. The staff recommendations were as follows:

RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends that the City Council provide direction for negotiating the

Development Agreement for the Facebook East Campus Project located at 1601 Willow

Road based on the following parameters:

1. Provide a source of on-going revenue for as long as the land use entitlement to

exceed 3,600 employees is in place.

2. Provide one-time items in the form of public improvements or studies that would

benefit the surrounding area.

3. Provide a mechanism for funding programs and services that meet on-going

community needs.

4. Pursue a commitment to fund housing opportunities in the City and surrounding

region.

5. Pursue a trip cap penalty amount that is severe enough to ensure compliance

with the project description.

Attachment A

Facebook Campus Project

Public Benefit Ideas

February 14, 2012

 Improved bicycle access to the site, including improvements to the Bay Trail,

freeway overcrossing, and commonly used bicycle access routes to the site;

 In-lieu fee for loss of tax revenue;

 Use of Facebook shuttles for public transportation, similar to the Marguerite

shuttle system implemented by Stanford;

 Revenue for Menlo Park City School District;

 Improvements to Flood Park;

 Landscape and street sign improvements along Willow Road;

 Provision of free wireless access to Belle Haven;

 Construction of a centrally located library branch at Ivy Drive Plaza;

 Installation of bus shelters at key locations;

 Improvement of existing City resources, including the Senior Center, Belle Haven

Library and Belle Haven pool;

 Construction of a housing complex at Flood Park;

 Installation of public art;

 Financial support for senior/low income households and transit oriented

development;

 Provision of a major grocery store in Belle Haven;

 Provision of job opportunities with preference given to Menlo Park residents;

 Facebook funded employee supported mentorship and volunteer programs;

 Provision of child care for Facebook employees and the public;

 Construction of a sound wall between Kelly Park and US 101; and

 Native landscape plantings along Bayfront Expressway.

********
It is unfortunate that 'truth' can only resort to name calling rather than producing facts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Reading this thread is hysterical....what a "community."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The Voice
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm

It would be nice to have Facebook. Menlo Park is a silly place to do business. Mitigation means squeezing Facebook for unreasonable things. My fellow residents are killing this town. Hey but lets buy a new park. Peter keep up the good work, thanks for making a mess is a city you don't live in.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The Voice
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Free WiFi in the Bellhaven what a joke. The Bellhaven gets a large part of resources.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Peter keep up the good work, thanks for making a mess is a city you don't live in."
Perhaps you did not read (or understand) the entire thread:


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

Facebook will make an important contribution to this area. I urge the City of Menlo Park to have a truly independent and hands off EIR prepared that details the impact of the proposed impact on our communities and then deal ONLY with mitigation to those specific impacts. And that means that the City Council members needs to stop looking at Facebook as a bank to fund all of their favorite personal ideas or to cure the City's financial problems.
*****
If there is a mess then it is not of my making.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by what revenue?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

The negotiations are not about mitigations for environmental impacts. The EIR provides a process for that.
The negotiations are about providing adequate public benefit for Facebook to exceed current limits on the properties and for Facebook to add significant adverse impacts that cannot be mitigated, as would be required for any business wanting to do what they intend. Rules count for something, and exceeding them must be compensated in some way.
Direct revenue from this business is a no-brainer to seek as this part of Menlo Park is supposed to be the revenue-producing district.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 19, 2012 at 11:09 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The negotiations are about providing adequate public benefit for Facebook to exceed current limits on the properties and for Facebook to add significant adverse impacts that cannot be mitigated, as would be required for any business wanting to do what they intend. Rules count for something, and exceeding them must be compensated in some way."

For mitigation of impacts above and beyond those in the EIR then the public benefits should be related to all those jurisdictions upon whom the adverse impacts fall, not just the City of Menlo Park.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by what revenue?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I agree that regional impacts should be addressed, but what other jurisdiction has ever done this? Unfortunately state law doesn't require it. Thus communities bear the brunt of other communities' over-development or bad decisions and the public suffers. So much for planning.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by faceplant
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Advantages to having Facebook in Menlo Park:

-- You get to post on your Facebook page: "I live in Menlo Park, home to Facebook!"

Disadvantages to having Facebook in Menlo Park:

-- Increase in traffic snarls (with concomitant increase in pollution)

-- Decrease in affordable housing

-- Heavier strain on fragile city infrastructure

-- No contribution to city coffers (whereas for many years, Sun had its sales office in Menlo Park, generating sales tax revenues for our fine city).

You can see why Palo Alto was turning handsprings and begging on all fours to keep Facebook in their city. They're an annoying bunch of immature self-entitled brats, and no amount of mitigation is going to rectify that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by How True!
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Yes, it is SO important to make sure we are making $1M decisions based on thinking a company is filled with "annoying bunch of immature self-entitled brats..." What, is this envy we are hearing? How ridiculous a comment IS that? And what the heck is a "heavier strain on fragile city infrastructure"? What the heck is "fragile"? If anything, we have overspent in this city for our services.(look it up, we have 20%+ more people employed than most cities on the peninsula, and refuse to sub-contract, refuse to layoff people, refuse to cut back) In addition, why not let the market decide where the market for "affordable housing" goes? This is NOT government's role, stay out of it. I see far too many advantages ALREADY committed to by FB. One school has free computers, bike paths ARE being restriped and built, many non-profit groups are being considered for donations, and FB has already committed to many traffic fixes. Stop the extortion, this area is zoned for FB type companies, they don't owe you, or the city, or anyone else, other than some of the mitigation stuff, and making sure the EIR is clean. Amazing how badly this city's SMALL MINORITY can create such a firestorm! Ridiculous!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by faceplant
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 20, 2012 at 9:47 am

No knock on self-entitled brats -- I've got a few at my house too -- but it's hard to negotiate with them. If their stance is "we want to have everything our way, or we won't play" then maybe our city needs to collectively shrug and say that we understand. Facebook's gotta do what they've gotta do.

If you read the input from neighboring cities, local organizations, and involved individuals -- Web Link -- you would understand that there are dozens of consequential issues that Facebook needs to address if it wants to be welcomed in our community. Striping bike paths, making donations to a few nonprofits, and handing out a dozen computers are nice gestures, but they don't even touch on the concerns so cogently expressed by many.

This isn't about extortion. It's about ensuring that Facebook's presence doesn't have a hugely negative impact on our community. Ideally, the impact should be neutral, but I doubt that will happen, and I don't think anyone but a few starry eyed Facebook fanatics expects that Facebook will be a boon in any significant way.

P.S. A discussion of the city's infrastructure is beyond the purview of this thread, but suffice to say we've got a post-war infrastructure that is not adequate for 21st century demands.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by How True!
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

We have too many people in our small little town, it's well documented, and we are paying for it. There's a reason our taxes are extremely high in this town. I find it very frustrating that because MP "has a surplus" we feel that we should not cut, or find efficiencies. I'd like to see some examples of our "post-war infrastructure". What I see are fantastic facilities, some newly built, some being built, with very highly paid employees, and a workforce that has yet to see any downsizing in a very difficult economy. If your comment about "post-war infrastructure" has to do with technology, great let's invest in that. However, THAT is cheap, much cheaper than continually hiring people, expensive people, and expensive people with very high pension liabilities. Why does majority of the California public, NOT see this?? THIS is our issue in this state, and it starts with the small towns and cities. Thank you FB for coming here, thanks for giving people jobs, whom will then in turn pay taxes to our cities and our state governments, which they in turn will hire more and more people within the government. A vicious circle.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by How True!
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Correction to the above post: "We have too many CITY EMPLOYEES in our small little town..." - sorry, my apologies.


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