Facebook will take over the former Agilent building on S. California Avenue in late April or early May, according to sources close to the company. The move comes at a time when neighborhood residents are voting on a parking-permit program that is designed to reduce existing parking problems caused by Stanford University.
The 132,780-square-foot, 2-story building in Stanford Research Park can hold a maximum 1,446 employees. The site has 393 parking spaces, including nine disabled slots, according to plans filed with the Palo Alto Planning Department. Ramsey Shuayto, asset manager for the Stanford Research Park, said the parking allocation conforms to the industrial park's 3.3 spots per 1,000 square feet of building.
How potential overflow parking will be handled has not been determined, according to a Facebook spokesman.
Many residents along California Avenue have submitted ballots to the City of Palo Alto in favor of joining the proposed parking-permit program, according to Shahla Yazdy, the city's project manager.
"I do think that people who live near upper California Avenue are very concerned," said Diane Finkelstein, a member of the College Terrace Resident's Association public advisory committee. "The word on the street is that most are for the parking permit, and I think it's a realistic concern."
"It will definitely be a pressure," resident Fred Balin said. "I lived here when the dot-com boom was on. Every building was full. There was a very big impact."
"It's (already) hard to park on Amherst," said Steve Woodward, College Terrace Residents Association board member and Stanford observer, referring to the street across from Facebook's new location. But future housing developments slated for the area are also of long-range concern, he said.
Residents raised the issue of traffic and parking with Facebook executives in November at an outreach meeting initiated by the company. Facebook spokesman Larry Yu said Wednesday that the company is aware of the sensitivity of the issue and is looking into ways to reduce impact on the neighborhood.
Facebook has not completed its analysis and could not comment on any theoretical scenarios, he said. The company expects to continue talking about the issue with residents, he added.
The company does not currently have a formal transportation program for employees at its downtown Palo Alto locations but does pay for annual parking permits. A few employee ride-sharing mailing lists exist within the company, he said.
A rent-compensation program to encourage employees to live near work ended last year.
College Terrace's proposed parking-permit program was developed due to problems with Stanford students and staff who having been leaving their cars in the neighborhood while they are on campus.
The city mailed ballots to residents to vote on the plan on Feb. 17, with a deadline to return the ballots to the city by Wednesday. But Yazdy said many residents said they did not receive ballots and so the city is extending the deadline, though a new deadline has not been determined.
The permit plan must be approved by the City Council and could be implemented by September, she said.
According to the program proposal, residents would be able to opt in on a block-by-block basis if 51 percent of households on a block vote for the program, Yazdy said. They would be able to purchase parking permits for $15 to $25 annually per vehicle. Two guest permits would be issued for free. Additional optional one-day permits could be purchased for a limited number of days quarterly, she said.
The parking-permit program will be a topic presented at the College Terrace Residents Association annual meeting on Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Escondido School Multi-purpose Room, 890 Escondido Road.