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Facebook proposes changes to expansion plan


Facebook wants permission from Menlo Park to make changes to its expansion project at 301-309 Constitution Drive, which the City Council approved last November.

Facebook now proposes to build an 83-foot-high, eight-story parking garage, connected with bridges on multiple stories, to an 87-foot-tall, four-story office building – all closer to Bayfront Expressway than was previously planned.

The plans were changed so Facebook can move forward with its expansion even while abiding by the lease with the current tenant, TE Connectivity, at one of the existing buildings there, according to a staff report.

When the project was approved in November, the company planned its expansion to occur in two phases. In the first, Facebook would build the 513,000-square-foot Building 21. That building is under construction now.

In the second phase, Facebook planned to build another large office building – Building 22, totaling about 450,000-square feet – and a 200-room hotel. At the time of approval, however, the plans were not far enough along to get architectural clearance from the city.

Existing buildings on the site, leased primarily by TE Connectivity, precluded the project moving forward until TE Connectivity's lease was up – or so it seemed. Facebook said in a letter to the city's planning department that it's expected that TE Connectivity will leave buildings located at 302, 303, 304 and 306 Constitution Drive in mid-2017, but will stay at 305 Constitution Drive for at least a while longer – which could be when the current lease is up in 2019, or following a three-year lease extension until 2022. Facebook has offered the company an "incentive" to leave earlier, according to a staff report.

The modified proposal for Building 22 would leave Building 305 alone until TE Connectivity vacates it – after which it would be demolished and converted into a 5-acre private park for employees, about 2 and a quarter acres of which would be set aside as an electric vehicle charging area for buses and trams.

To keep the same square footage, Building 22 would grow taller. Instead of having ground-floor parking with one main floor and a mezzanine at a maximum height of 75 feet, the new proposed building would have four stories of office space up to 75 feet tall, with rooftop skylights reaching heights up to 87 feet. The office building would be connected to an 83-foot-tall, 8-story parking garage, with pedestrian bridges to connect to the office. All of the height over 75 feet would be for protective features and screening for the cars, the staff report says. The top of the parking garage would have solar panels, and the walls would be shielded by vines, according to project drawings.

There would be no landscaped rooftop area at Building 22, Kyle Perata, a senior planner for the city, confirmed, unlike Facebook's buildings 20 and 21.

The public-access open space that Facebook agreed to provide would not be able to be fully installed until after Building 305 is demolished, according to a staff report. Some of the planned public access space could still be added with Building 305 there, Mr. Perata said. A public-access bike and pedestrian bridge over Bayfront Expressway that Facebook has planned would also have to be completed before Facebook can occupy Building 22, he said.

The hotel the company has proposed to build on the site would not be changed, but construction would not be allowed to begin until Building 305 is demolished.

Facebook said in a statement that it did not expect a net increase in the number of workers and visitors to the site during the potential period in which both Building 22 and Building 305 are occupied. The number of workers TE Connectivity would employ at Building 305, about 110 workers at a time, or 330 over three eight-hour shifts in a day, is lower than the expected worker and guest population at the hotel, the company said.


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9 people like this
Posted by Josh
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 19, 2017 at 2:38 pm

As a resident of Menlo Park I'm happy for the jobs in the area and the economic boost Facebook bringns but not too excited about the tall office buildings and hotels which has really marred the skyline for several neighborhoods both in east and west Menlo Park. I hope the planning commission considers this impact and ways to mitigate it by limiting building height, construction noise, and the amount of light shining into the neighborhood at night.

10 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2017 at 7:43 pm

No more rubber stamping. Enough is enough. We are not a company town and don't want to become one. These bigger and taller building are impacting our climate and wind patterns. And do these changes mean more employees eventually, more than originally planned? Out traffic is horrendous, not just off an on the 101 and the Dumbarton corridor but Willow and Marsh west of 101 are becoming permanent traffic jams. Have you tried getting a vet to the VA in time for an appointment? Enough is enough. Remember who you work for City Council and Planning Commission. It's not Facebook and corporate America it's the residents of Menlo Park. Enough is enough already. Tell Facebook to build in someone else's yard.

4 people like this
Posted by triver
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 19, 2017 at 8:24 pm

101 interchange at Marsh needs to be improved.

4 people like this
Posted by Mper
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 20, 2017 at 1:39 am

A five-acre, employee only park?! Mp citizens should have access to that!

11 people like this
Posted by Lisa Brough
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 20, 2017 at 10:21 am

I am glad to see that we are finally rising up against the private property regime and their interests. This is just another example of horrors of private ownership and why the system needs to be changed.

I really hope that over the next year MP seriously considers a property appreciation cap. Like rent control, it limits how much property can appreciate during any given year to 1%. This will allow the less fortunate to finally be able to get ahead and save up for a home. There are many similar movements emerging as part of the resistance all over the United States.

2 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 20, 2017 at 11:14 pm

I am interested in capping home appreciation at 1% per year. How do we make this possible?

3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 21, 2017 at 9:26 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"How do we make this possible?"

You don't.

11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 21, 2017 at 11:09 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I am interested in capping home appreciation at 1% per year. How do we make this possible?"

You buy a home and make a legally binding pledge to never sell it for more than an accumulated annual appreciation of 1%.

And then when you are ready to sell you hold a lottery to determine who gets the windfall from your pledge.

2 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 22, 2017 at 7:44 am

Welcome to Facebook Town formerly Menlo Park

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