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.