Facebook looking for new home in Menlo Park? | December 3, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - December 3, 2010

Facebook looking for new home in Menlo Park?

Oracle campus a possibility, but not yet vacant

by Sandy Brundage

Social-networking behemoth Facebook is hoping to connect with larger digs, and Menlo Park's Oracle campus is one of several sites under consideration. However, contrary to news reports, an afternoon tour showed that the 2.5-million-square-foot Willow Road campus is not yet vacant.

Facebook remains mum about its interest in the campus despite a local news story published on Tuesday.

Dave Johnson, manager of the city's business development department, referred all inquiries to Facebook, after sharing this statement:

"Facebook is exploring options for a long-term location to fit its growing business needs. They are in the due diligence phase on potential sites, but it would be premature to offer any specifics. They hope to have more to share in the near future once things have been finalized."

Facebook corporate communications director Larry Yu confirmed there's not much to report.

"Generally we're looking for a site that can accommodate our growth over the long term," he said.

Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline suggested not taking the rumors too seriously.

"Any rumor about Facebook — given the nature of Silicon Valley — is only a rumor until someone actually signs a deal. Facebook, Google and Yahoo! are probably the center of the most rumors in business," he said.

Oracle bought Sun Microsystems in January for $7.4 billion. The San Mateo County Assessor's office decided three months ago that the sale required a reassessment of the property.

Reassessment of the campus, now assessed at $355.4 million, could boost or decrease property-tax revenues for Menlo Park, but that won't be known for certain until the process is completed by June 2011.

However, any increase won't replenish the city's general fund since the campus lies within redevelopment agency boundaries, according to city staff. Any increased property tax would funnel back only into redevelopment projects.

Sandy Brundage is a staff writer for the Almanac, the Weekly's sister's paper.


Posted by Facebookie, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm

How much money do the Facebookies spend every day at the businesses along California Ave? Do we want that money going to Menlo Park instead? How many local businesses will go bankrupt if Facebook leaves?

Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 30, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Facebookie, when Facebook left downtown how many businesses (local) went bk? And to further that NIMBYist attitude, you worry about that dough going to MP? Give me a break!

Posted by Facebookie, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm

When Facebook left downtown, finding a table for lunch downtown got a lot easier. And Facebook was a lot smaller then.

Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Getting a table for lunch is a great deal less hysterical than your comment about local businesses going bk! You dont even mention the impact Facebook had on rents downtown; did you know rents went down downtown when Facebook left because of the disappearance of the 500 dollar hollar a month stipend paid to all of there employees to live close to work!But, "Facebook was a lot smaller then."

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm

We really need to keek Facebook in Palo Alto. We don't need empty office space, we need vibrant business with employees who are paying sales tax in local establishments.

This is something that will be felt in Palo Alto if they leave and I can't see any sizeable company taking up all that office space. We have enough empty offices around town, we don't need any more.

Posted by Facebookie, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm

A lot of restaurants and other small businesses make most of their money off the lunch crowd. When that goes down dramatically, they really hurt.

On the bright side, the city wants more affordable housing. The easiest way to do that is to kick all the employers out of town.

Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 30, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Companies are like families, sometimes they grow and have to look for a bigger house. This is Silicon Valley after all, it also a natural cycle everywhere in the world. Bigger house are also cheaper in other parts of the world; see Menlo Park. Facebook into Oracle/Sun is a natural part of the process as is AOL into HP on PageMill/Oregon Expressway.

Posted by David, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm

They should consider the empty former Roche Bio campus on Arastradero Rd near Hillview.

Posted by Sonny, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 30, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Wasn't it just a few months ago that college terrace residents were complaining about the inordinate amount of vehicular traffic that Facebook headquarters generated? Well, it seems as though they heard you loud and clear. The old Sun building in Menlo Park is a great place for Facebook headquarters. Be careful what you complain about...you just might get it. Kudos PA residents.

Posted by Facebookie, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 30, 2010 at 7:38 pm

I bet the NIMBYs who keep complaining about Facebook will be glad to see them go. They are not the small business owners who will be hurt.

Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I have a feeling that Menlo Park's property tax revenue is going way down. There is no way that that campus is worth $350 million.

It's a shame that my neighbors made it so uncomfortable for Facebook to stay in Palo Alto.

Posted by John, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 30, 2010 at 7:48 pm

How could Stanford and Palo Alto allow Facebook to leave the Research Park?

These folks should all be replaced.

Posted by Obamasaurus, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm

I wonder if my neighbors will complain about the cost of parking in their neighborhood after facebook is gone? Thanks for adding to the city coffers!

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 1, 2010 at 8:23 am

They're moving to Sun Quentin?

Posted by mj, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 1, 2010 at 10:33 am

Since the Stanford Industrial Park is on Stanford land the property taxes may go to the county not Palo Alto.

Stanford also has a sweetheart deal on property taxes. Does that apply to all their lands, such as the Stanford Industrial Park and Stanford Shopping Center, or just the campus?

Since Stanford doesn't sell the Stanford Industrial Park properties, just leases them, does that mean those property taxes are tied to the 1975 rate when Prop 13 went into effect?

Posted by Marie, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 1, 2010 at 10:53 am

Why not consider the Roche Campus?

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 1, 2010 at 10:58 am

If FB moved to Sun Quentin, I doubt Menlo Park would see much in lunch business. The site is so far removed from any decent restaurants. They have a great food service operation on that campus.

Posted by Megan, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 1, 2010 at 11:06 am

I've been embarrassed by the antagonism towards Facebook since they day they arrived. They've been good neighbors - and a few surly locals (who despite their delusions, do not represent the majority of us) have made them unwelcome. It's been fun, and I will be very sorry if they leave. But I don't blame them.

Posted by Greg, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 1, 2010 at 11:48 am

Times are tough. We need thriving businesses in Palo Alto. We're on our way to being a bedroom community of condos with crowded schools. We need to keep facebook here and maintain a healthy balance of business and residential activity in our town.

Posted by Etaoin Shrdlu, a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2010 at 11:53 am

The Stanford Industrial Park, like the hospital and shopping center, has been incorporated into Palo Alto for many years. Palo Alto gets the tax revenue. People who own homes on the campus, and the academic portion of the university are in unincorporated Santa Clara County and pay appropriate taxes to the county. Fines for traffic tickets issued on the campus also go to the county.

Posted by there goes the neighborhood, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 1, 2010 at 11:54 am

College Terrace wins again!

Posted by Megan, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 1, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Shall we throw a party for Facebook, JJ&F, Printers Inc, California Ave pharmacy, and all the thrift stores we used to have. A wake perhaps?

Posted by undecided, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm

When Facebook moved to the old Agilent digs in the Research Park at the end of California Avenue, they built an onsite cafeteria run by an upscale chef where employees can eat for free. They remodeled the facility to provide all the comforts of home and employees never have to leave work to take care of personal errands such as laundry and dry-cleaning. I don't know how many of those onsite amenities are procured from nearby or Palo Alto-based providers. So I don't think that it is valid to extrapolate from the impact of Facebook's departure from downtown (before the onsite free cafeteria) to predict the impact of Facebook's departure on businesses near the Research Park.

As to the sales tax paid by Facebook, I wonder how much sales tax Facebook directly generates for Palo Alto. How much of Facbook's income is subject to sales tax, a portion of which goes to Palo Alto's coffers?

Posted by bill, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 1, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Undecided has brought up the most significant impact on PA revenues -taxes. Is any of their advertising income taxable? Do they sell a product that is taxable? How much income do they generate for us?

If Facebook contributes to revenus, we need them to remain somewhere in Palo Alto. Is our vaunted Council working on this?

Posted by Facebookie, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Facebook employees contribute to the revenues of local businesses along California Ave.

Posted by Herb Borock, a resident of Professorville
on Dec 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Facebook is leasing office space on California Avenue on land that is scheduled to be used for housing as part of the City's Mayfield Development Agreement with Stanford, so Facebook has always known that its current location is temporary, because Facebook could be required to move as early as 2013: Web Link

The land owned by Stanford that is now occupied by soccer fields at Page Mill Road and El Camino Real had been zoned for high density multi-family housing (RM-40). In exchange for providing the land for the soccer fields for 51 years, Stanford retained all its prior development rights for offices and housing by obtaining the entitlement to develop housing previously allowed on the soccer fields by developing housing on some office sites, and moving and adding the allowable office floor area from those sites to elsewhere in the Stanford Research Park.

Posted by undecided, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 1, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Herb Borock makes a good point, however, I think that if Facebook wanted to stay longer, and if it was in Stanford's interest to have them stay longer, then Stanford could simply ask the City Council to amend the Mayfield Agreement to allow a delay in the timetable. Stanford could point to the bad economy, loss of endowment funds, etc. as creating a hardship necessitating amendment. I doubt that neighboring residents would oppose that, most of us never wanted that housing in the first place.

I wouldn't bet against Council giving Stanford whatever it asked for.

Posted by Sonny, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 1, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Why should the City Council work on this? The vocal minority of College Terrace has spoken; therefore, the case is closed. Be careful what you whine about because you might get it...peace and quiet in College Terrace. Ahh lovely I can hear the birds.

Posted by Jake, a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:29 pm

The City Council seems to more concerned with trees being over pruned than looking at ways to keep companies such as Facebook in PA.
Add Facebook to the long list of Companies and tax dollars that left Palo Alto for surrounding Cities, the Council just does not seem to grasp the simple fact that these companies and their employees generate taxes and spend money in PA that pays for services and programs that benefit the residents of Palo Alto.
You would think Facebook was a coal powered gas weed blower factory the way the City is turning a blind eye.

Posted by Bye Bye Facebook, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2010 at 8:33 am

But as Sonny has stated, College Terrace has spoken. They usually get whatever they want--earlier this year they were complaining about the traffic generated by Facebook- so that started the call rolling on driving Facebook out. Now that they are done with that they can focus on other College-terrace-centric issues--a new grocery store without any competition in the city, traffic calming, permit parking, a remodel of the library etc.

Posted by richard k, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 2, 2010 at 8:57 am

Why are people assuming that Facebook would leave the Stanford Research Park if it were to acquire the Menlo Park site? Facebook is growing so fast, it will need both campuses.

This assumption most of you have made is not based on any facts. The only fact here is that Menlo Park's business development director said Facebook is in talks for the Sun Microsystems site.

Assuming that FB would leave Palo Alto for Menlo Park is so typical of liberal Palo Altans. Liberals tend to be zero-sum-game types, who don't understand how businesses or the economy grows. They just assume a business will remain a static size.

FB is growing so fast, it will need both campuses -- and more. So stop thinking FB is abandoning Palo Alto. It won't.

Posted by Facebookie, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 2, 2010 at 10:28 am

The reason Facebook abandoned downtown Palo Alto is that they wanted all their employees at one location. Sun Qunitin is a huge campus. They are not going move just part of the company out there.

Maybe they are serious about moving out. Maybe they are playing hard to get with the city council. Maybe they are playing hard ball with the College Terrace NIMBYs. Maybe a little of each.

Posted by too big to fail, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm

"Sun Microsystems has been Menlo Park's largest employer and one of its top sources of revenue. According to city data from the first quarter of this year, 2,976 former Sun employees work in the city, most of them at the headquarters off Network Circle Drive."

Total number of Facebook employees worldwide? ~1700

It will take some time for Facebook to outgrow Network Circle. They won't be maintaining two campuses. It also sounds like Facebook will be replacing Sun as one of Menlo Park's top sources of revenue. And the site's property tax will is be re-accessed after the recent Oracle purchase.

Posted by Facebookie, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 2, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Zuck has already left town. Where did he go? Web Link

Posted by TimH, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 3, 2010 at 10:56 am

Locations notwithstanding, companies commonly seem to forget that a big part of their appeal to employees is their location! Moving from Calif. Ave to East Menlo is a huge downgrade in locale, no matter how much "updating" is provided to the old Sun campus. I recall that it wasn't considered to be a great place even when new and the area's only benefit is access for people who live in the East Bay. We don't have any of the inside details, so who knows what kind of sweet deal is in the works for Facebook. I agree that the old Syntex/Roche location is an attractive (and large) alternative to remain in Palo Alto.

Posted by Facebookie, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 3, 2010 at 11:22 am

All the hostility from their College Terrace neighbors is likely a big reason that Facebook is considering the move. Facebook is a much better neighbor than Superfund HP, but that isn't good enough for College Terrace.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I am shocked Menlo Park would allow a social network to move in, and recent studies have shown FB breaks up 1 of of 6 marriages and but poor Bev Mo, is treated like a bottom dweller.

Posted by who cares, a resident of Triple El
on Dec 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm

One thing Herb Borack fails to mention in his post is that Stanford "gave away" the site on Page Mill and ECR for future development rights elsewhere in the city because the soccer field that now occupies the space is built on an active Superfund Site with recent reports of an 800% spike in toxic contaminates in water sources located below the fields. So while our kids play away on the Superfund Site, Stanford will enjoy future development rights within the city for their contribution to our community. As for Collage Terrace residents bickering about Facebook, well I guess if you buy a house across from a property zoned as commercial and wonder why the home price was lower than those located in other parts of the city y'all might wonder why. It's kinda like buying a property located across from an airport or manure plant and congratulating yourself for getting such a great deal on the price of the home.

Posted by sandy, a resident of Portola Valley
on Dec 4, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I don't let my kids go on Facebook.. Social networking is irresponsible and dangerous.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Sandy, then they probably do it at school or at a friend's house.

You would be better off letting them use your computer at home and joining them online.

Just because you forbid it may make it even more attractive to them.

Of course, you may be a kid who is trolling - we just don't really know.

Posted by Cynthia, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2010 at 10:57 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

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