News

Facebook starts developing third Menlo Park campus

Facebook is starting small when it comes to its third Menlo Park campus, located on Constitution Drive near the corner of Chilco Street and Bayfront Expressway. One building will first be redeveloped, with the remaining nine buildings to be renovated after the social media company comes forward with a "master plan" for the campus next year.

The Planning Commission voted 6-0, with John Onken recused due to recent business dealings with Facebook, to approve the permit needed to proceed with converting a 185,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution building on the site to "general offices and ancillary employee amenities."

Facebook bought the 59-acre property earlier this year from TE Connectivity. Gehry Partners, the firm founded by renowned architect Frank Gehry, is designing that site in addition to Facebook's "west campus" next door.

Commissioner John Kadvany described the building as an "anchor point" for the entire campus. Facebook representatives told the commission that it will contain about 1,500 employees once renovations are finished. Removing mezzanines and making other internal adjustments will leave the finished project with 108,108 square feet of floor area.

External changes will include fresh white paint, a shuttle stop, a new garden at the entrance and possibly a cedar deck and a trellis to replace a loading dock, according to the staff report. A cafe, fitness center and other amenities may also be built.

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The site would also gain 34 trees, for a total of 95.

Given the site's location within a flood zone, flood-proofing is taking a high priority. Facebook representatives said they were still figuring that out, but one likely outcome is that the building's entry points will be elevated.

The company estimated that the new building would lead to 3,742 to 4,465 daily vehicle trips to and from the campus, depending on when other occupants at the site vacate the premises. TE Connectivity, for example, along with other businesses, still uses a portion of the property.

Facebook representatives told the commission that approximately 50 percent of its employees participate in programs designed to reduce traffic, and that in addition to bike and pedestrian paths, a "people mover" transporter will run between all three campuses, passing through an existing tunnel to cross the Bayfront Expressway.

The company will have three options for meeting its obligation to provide affordable housing in exchange for the new construction. Those options are to pay $1.2 million to the city's below-market-rate housing fund, to provide four off-site housing units, or a combination of the two.

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Facebook starts developing third Menlo Park campus

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Wed, Dec 24, 2014, 10:20 am

Facebook is starting small when it comes to its third Menlo Park campus, located on Constitution Drive near the corner of Chilco Street and Bayfront Expressway. One building will first be redeveloped, with the remaining nine buildings to be renovated after the social media company comes forward with a "master plan" for the campus next year.

The Planning Commission voted 6-0, with John Onken recused due to recent business dealings with Facebook, to approve the permit needed to proceed with converting a 185,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution building on the site to "general offices and ancillary employee amenities."

Facebook bought the 59-acre property earlier this year from TE Connectivity. Gehry Partners, the firm founded by renowned architect Frank Gehry, is designing that site in addition to Facebook's "west campus" next door.

Commissioner John Kadvany described the building as an "anchor point" for the entire campus. Facebook representatives told the commission that it will contain about 1,500 employees once renovations are finished. Removing mezzanines and making other internal adjustments will leave the finished project with 108,108 square feet of floor area.

External changes will include fresh white paint, a shuttle stop, a new garden at the entrance and possibly a cedar deck and a trellis to replace a loading dock, according to the staff report. A cafe, fitness center and other amenities may also be built.

The site would also gain 34 trees, for a total of 95.

Given the site's location within a flood zone, flood-proofing is taking a high priority. Facebook representatives said they were still figuring that out, but one likely outcome is that the building's entry points will be elevated.

The company estimated that the new building would lead to 3,742 to 4,465 daily vehicle trips to and from the campus, depending on when other occupants at the site vacate the premises. TE Connectivity, for example, along with other businesses, still uses a portion of the property.

Facebook representatives told the commission that approximately 50 percent of its employees participate in programs designed to reduce traffic, and that in addition to bike and pedestrian paths, a "people mover" transporter will run between all three campuses, passing through an existing tunnel to cross the Bayfront Expressway.

The company will have three options for meeting its obligation to provide affordable housing in exchange for the new construction. Those options are to pay $1.2 million to the city's below-market-rate housing fund, to provide four off-site housing units, or a combination of the two.

Comments

Edward Syrett
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 24, 2014 at 9:31 pm
Edward Syrett, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2014 at 9:31 pm
1 person likes this

This sounds like great news for Menlo Park. It will keep the newly generated traffic away from downtown. Santa Cruz Avenue businesses are unlikely to see an uptick in activity, but there's room for commercial growth between Bayfront Expressway and US 101. In the long run, if and when politicians figure out how to activate commuter rail traffic across the existing span next to Dumbarton bridge, it would make all kinds of sense to put a station close to Facebook (or whatever enterprise is occupying those buildings at that time).


what's so good about it
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 29, 2014 at 8:51 am
what's so good about it, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 29, 2014 at 8:51 am
2 people like this

So nearly all of Bayfront Expy will be built out by a company that provides zero sales tax dollars to Menlo Park and offers so many amenities to its employees onsite (food, dry cleaning) that they don't need to patronize any Menlo Park businesses. Huge office projects downtown are still going through the approval process despite their bringing so much new rush hour traffic that they have had to do new EIRs within a couple years of the downtown specific plan's approval with its own EIR that predicted much worse traffic.
Now we'll have more traffic from Facebook and downtown and no sales tax dollars.
What's so good about this?


regional view
another community
on Dec 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm
regional view, another community
on Dec 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm
2 people like this

That land could just as easily be in Redwood City, Palo Alto or Redwood City, and the traffic generated would be the same. Menlo Park could pass an ordinance to bulldoze every office building within the city limits... and traffic on Menlo Park streets would only continue to increase from vehicles visiting businesses in Palo Alto, Stanford and Redwood City. When the economy is booming, we always have more traffic, but eventually something incredible happens. People get out of their cars and use public transit. In some cases, people actually bike to work.


Robert
Registered user
Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Dec 30, 2014 at 8:57 am
Robert, Menlo Park: Felton Gables
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2014 at 8:57 am
5 people like this

@what's so good about it... Yes, they do not sell a physical product so there is no tax on that. So what should the city do - well MP imposed "in lieu" fees. So yes, facebook has and does pay those fees. Additionally, the building permits, etc. raise money for the city (and create jobs). facebook also pays MP for the use of a police officer to reduce drain on the city. I am not arguing hat all the fees MP charges (and other cities receive as well just being neighbors) is the correct amount; rather pointing out that a space that sat empty now has use and has those who do generate money on sales tax (some in MP) selling to fb.


DanaHendrickson
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm
DanaHendrickson, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm
1 person likes this

Question: Doesn't Facebook pay property taxes to Menlo Park? If so, what amount of this revenue will the 3 campuses contribute to Menlo Park?


what's so good about it
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 1, 2015 at 4:41 pm
what's so good about it, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 1, 2015 at 4:41 pm
Like this comment

Were in lieu fees assessed in perpetuity or for a single or limited time?
@regional view - the traffic could be destined to other cities, but that's the point. Why have so much of a particular type be destined to our town?


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