Facebook moving to Menlo Park from Palo Alto

February 8, 2011 6:33:47 PM PST
Social media is on the move -- not just virtually, but literally here in the Bay Area. Facebook has outgrown its headquarters in Palo Alto and is moving to Menlo Park. Nine existing buildings on roughly one million square feet of space will make up Facebook's new campus in Menlo Park.

"Facebook has been looking for a place, a setting where we could plant some roots, pull together all our Bay Area employees in an area where they can work together collaboratively, feed off each other's energy and ideas and build the future of the company," Facebook CFO David Ebersam said.

Facebook struck a deal with Oracle to lease the complex for 15 years with an option to buy in five. The amount was not disclosed. Oracle purchased former tenants Sun Microsystems in 2009 and then laid off thousands of Sun employees. Facebook has started remodeling the first of the nine buildings.

"That building will hold about 500 folks and it will be ready in the June/mid-June time frame," Facebook Director of Real Estate John Tenanes said.

The goal is for Facebook to have most of its 1,400 Bay Area employees on campus within 12 months. The company will keep its Palo Alto facilities until the leases expire in 2013.

Facebook told reporters the company did not receive any tax breaks from the city. Menlo Park's mayor said with Facebook, the future looks good for the city.

"And we are going to be able to do some things that this city hasn't been able to do in years and that is bring more revenue and planning and ideas into that community," Mayor Richard Cline said.

Facebook also purchased a second 22-acre property across from the new campus. Both are connected by a pedestrian tunnel. That too will eventually be developed.

"We are in it for the long term and have every hope and expectation that the area around it can be a place that grows and offers and interesting amenities and service that our employees enjoy," Ebersam said.

Bez Zahedi owns a restaurant in downtown Menlo Park. He is worried any expansion in that area will affect small businesses, especially restaurant owners.

"I was excited to have them hopefully bring some business to small businesses in downtown Menlo Park and other areas, but hearing that they plan to have their own malls and facilities over there is a little concerning," Zahedi said.

On March 5, Facebook and city officials will hold a public planning session to get feedback on how Facebook will best fit into the community.