News

Facebook scoops up Menlo Park properties

City finalizing paperwork for Sun campus sale

As rumors swirled about social-networking giant Facebook buying the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park, the company quietly bought 22 acres of business property near the campus.

Facebook purchased 312 and 314 Constitution Drive -- neighbors to the former Sun campus -- on Dec. 27, 2010, via an intermediary, Giant Properties LLC, listed at an address Facebook uses in Palo Alto, according to San Mateo County databases.

Meanwhile, "finalizing land use entitlements for a new tenant at Sun campus" appeared on the Menlo Park community development staff's "to do" list during a city budget presentation to the council on Thursday (Jan. 28).

The move could be a boon to San Mateo County. Larry Stone, assessor for Santa Clara County where Facebook currently pays taxes, said the value of the company is its exponential growth.

"Facebook from a property tax standpoint -- their public profile is much more valuable. But their growth is phenomenal," he said, and provided the following figures, good through Jan. 1, 2010:

In 2007: Facebook had an assessed business property value of $8 million, which includes computers and other equipment.

In 2008: Value doubled to $16.7 million

In 2009: Doubled again, to $30.2 million

In 2010: More than doubled, to $63.4 million

"They're not considered to be one of the major contributors to Santa Clara County business property tax right now," Stone said. "But if they keep growing the way they have been, they'll be a major player. Not unlike Google was, not unlike eBay was."

Facebook declined to discuss the purchases.

Editor's note: The initial story stated Facebook had paid taxes of $8 to $63.4 million. Those figures were the assessed values of Facebook, not the taxes paid.

Comments

Posted by nimby, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 28, 2011 at 11:12 am

Thank you NIMBYs for kicking that anti-social company out of town.


Posted by Koa, a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 28, 2011 at 11:43 am

Yep, congrats on kicking that (doubling) $63 million out of the county coffers.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm

The Sun buildings on Constitution, are NOT either one of the big Sun campuses in Menlo Park, by the Dumbarton Bridge or on 101, it was what was called the Jefferson campus. They're pretty old and decrepit, and cold int he winter too. I wonder if what's going on is a deal possible between Oracle (old Sun) and Facebook for software and hardware?


Posted by parking, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

The Constitution Drive properties are across the street from the big Sun office complex. Speculation is that FB will use the Constitution properties for parking and support services. Maybe even a recreation area or day care center. And if they really are doubling every year, they may want some extra space for future growth.


Posted by Sal, a resident of Southgate
on Jan 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Seven-year-old Facebook currently employs about 1,500, maybe 1,100 work in Palo Alto. Thirteen-year-old Google employed 24,400 at year end 2010, about 17,000 of whom work in Mountain View in and around the Googleplex. In Mountain View, Google owns or leases about 4.2 million square feet, or about 250 sq ft per local employee.

The one million square feet of buildings on the main Sun campus site in Menlo Palo will accommodate 4,000 to 5,000 employees, maybe Facebook. But that does not mean Facebook will leave Palo Alto, not at all.

A major challenge every fast growing company faces is how to assemble properties to provide the space needed at every point along the way. You figure it out.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm

"A major challenge every fast growing company faces is how to assemble properties to provide the space needed at every point along the way."

No, a major challenge for every fast growing company is how to not upset Palo Alto with too much traffic or anything else that upsets the so-called quality of life of our citizens. You have to tread especially carefully when dealing with neighborhoods like College Terrace.


Posted by JT, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 28, 2011 at 2:47 pm

We don't need Facebook in Palo Alto. There will be other social networking companies. All they did is create traffic problems and gobbled up our parking! Good riddance. Glad City Council backed us on this one when they went to the mat with Facebook a few years ago! There will be other Facebooks, I assure you.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

"All they did is create traffic problems and gobbled up our parking! "

Now if we could only get rid of Stanford University and the Stanford Shopping Center things will be back to the way they were. Getting rid of HP, Sun and now Facebook is a good start.


Posted by nimby, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Not like the city needs the money anyway. Our streets, schools, and public transit systems are well funded. Don't need any more police officers or fire fighters.


Posted by Koa, a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I'm sure all the local businesses on Cal Ave and the surrounding area share NIMBY's triumphant excitement.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Such a shame, if facebook leaves Palo Alto.


Posted by changeup, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Wow and yYikes, how harsh and short sited are many of the people's comments on this topic. Facebook has been a wonderful community contibutor ie. supporting the local businesses in downtown and then on CA Ave! Yes, we do need more police and fire fighter's or at least the wages that are needed to keep full forces! Has anyone noticed the increase in gun point robberies (25 in the past 3 months) in the down town area and even in the under pass from N. CA to CA? We need new companies like Facebook. I can't belieeve anyone truely wants Palo Alto to go backwards - get rid of Stanford University and Stanfod Mall. Perhaps the person who made that comment should move to Pescadero or Eureka - there are a lot of quiet streets and parking in those places. Are the elders in Palo Alto unhappy with progress, social and community development!? If College Terrace has that much clout to get rid of a company with our council; then I'm concerned about the Council's foresight and thinking for all Palo Altoian's benefit. Exponential growth of a company speaks volumes; aren't we living in a progressive area with democratic and economic values???


Posted by Eva, a resident of Ventura
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Changeup, I'm pretty sure all of those comments are to be read sarcastically.


Posted by Jimmy, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I don't really see why Facebook is/was good for Palo Alto. They care about digital communities.


Posted by 63 million reasons, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:26 am

Jimmy - did you read the part of the article that said Facebook is paying $63 million/year in local property taxes? That money will be lost if FB moves to San Mateo County.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2011 at 10:14 am

> did you read the part of the article that said Facebook is paying
> $63 million/year in local property taxes

The Weekly has corrected its error, on this point:

Editor's note: The initial story stated Facebook had paid taxes of $8 to $63.4 million. Those figures were the assessed values of Facebook, not the taxes paid.
--

FB would have to have assets valued at $6.3B to justify a $63M tax bill.


Posted by mommy, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 30, 2011 at 11:53 am

Yes! There is a God! Just keep kickin' that Facebook can down the road. I'll never join their cheesy Big Brother network. Face to face communication, the outdoors, and snail mail are the way to go.


Posted by Gordon, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2011 at 12:57 pm

It will be a big loss to Palo Alto if Facebook moves. The anti-Facebook NIMBYs are probably the same ones fightning tooth and nail against high speed rail.


Posted by nimby, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Gordon - you are wrong. The anti-Facebook NIMBYs all live in College Terrace and could not care less about HSR. The anti-HSR NIMBYs all live east of El Camino, mostly in that narrow strip of town between El Camino and Alma.

NIMBYs, by definition, only care about their own neighborhood and are willing to ruin the rest of town to protect their own backyard.


Posted by Charlie, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Frankly, a growing company will always stay away from the city. It's very clear to them but perhaps not to some of viewers here!


Posted by HemiVemi, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 31, 2011 at 5:37 am

Wow, must be nice to be FaceBook!

www.privacy-tools.au.tc


Posted by PaloAlto Resident, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 31, 2011 at 10:42 am

Wow sad to hear all the negative and harsh words against Facebook. I'm a small business owner and I've been grateful to have Facebook around and it has helped with restaurants and business on California Ave, etc. There are so many restaurants that have closed and having Facebook around has helped. When they left University Ave area it really hurt restaurants. If we live in Palo Alto we have to support companies and people coming to our city to bring back business.


Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 31, 2011 at 10:44 am

Unless Stanford's plans have changed and they are NOT planning on building the Mayfield project where at least part of Facebook is now, all that's happening here is that Facebook is making a prudent move to relocate from temporary space to a more permanent location that is big enough for their current operation + growth. I doubt "nimbyism" has anything to do with this.


Posted by resident, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 31, 2011 at 12:08 pm

The city gets only a tiny percentage of the property tax, which must be paid by the owner of the property regardless of the occupancy status, about $100, 000.00 annually.


Posted by smarter resident, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 31, 2011 at 12:19 pm

This article is talking about the business property tax that will be lost if FB moves their business elsewhere, not real estate taxes.

And of course there is a huge loss to local small businesses who serve the FB employees.


Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 31, 2011 at 3:06 pm

When FB was downtown, did they have the huge cafeteria/food operation that they have now? If not it makes sense that employees would dine locally and those restaurants formerly frequented by FB employees likely miss that business. I am curious as to how much FB business goes to Cal Ave now because the FB cafeteria is very nice and I think the food is free. Free + convenient is a pretty attractive combination. Said differently, the positive impact of FB business on local stores and restaurants may be more theory than reality.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Annette

Nice theory, Give free food on a daily basis and the employees will stay put at lunch time. People like choice and even if it is choosing between good food options, they still like to go out for a variety of location rather than just food variety.

I have been in Cal Ave area many times for lunch and it is true to say that there are always several groups of fb employees eating there. How do I know? Because you can tell from their badges on nice blue and white landyards with Facebook logos all over them.


Posted by resident, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 31, 2011 at 3:55 pm

If the Facebookies stayed in their building all day, the College Terrace NIMBYs wouldn't be complaining about all their noisy shuttle busses, would they?


Posted by resident, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm

And you also see a lot of the Facebookies visiting California Ave after work for a meal or a social drink before they take Caltrain home. You sometimes even see the Zuck himself at Antonio's.


Posted by Been There, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Good luck to Facebook and it,s employees! You will never regret leaving the dysfunctional community of Palo Alto. May you prosper and never look back!


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