By Alice Yin
The Menlo Park Planning Commission held a public meeting this month regarding the ramp-up of Facebook, Inc.’s expansion on the TE Connectivity Ltd. campus. Council members discussed the future of the expansion, at 300-309 Constitution Drive, and several Facebook employees and project managers attended the meeting. Facebook had aquired the campus in September of 2014 for $101,600,000, according to public records.
The company’s expansion proposal is awaiting a conditional development permit. The expansion would entail redeveloping 58 acres to create approximately 983,000 square feet of office space. The company also is considering including a 200-room, 175,000-square-foot limited-service hotel.[contextly_sidebar id=”f0GfmqEVGkbAJXpchcZWdHfwx25eAOXU”]Facebook’s proposed gross floor area of office use would be 1.32 million square feet. The company also hopes to seek a heritage tree removal permit and to rezone an entire building to allow a height of up to 75 feet. The city would require a below-market-rate housing agreement, which could include Facebook contributing to the BMR fund or procuring off-site BMR units.
“I think it’s daunting for everybody to look at it and think…’Facebook is just taking over Menlo Park,’” said Planning Commission Chair John Onken. “However, if I look at the alternative of this area, of these 58 acres to be built out traditionally by all the different developers and landlords, just chopping it up and letting three-story-high boxes with a sea of parking around them, it’s far more advantageous to have a single owner doing this property [and] doing it in an inventive way.”
The redeveloped area will be located between Chilco Street, Bayfront Expressway and Building 20—formerly known as Facebook’s West Campus. It will also be just north of the long-defunct Dumbarton rail corridor.
Currently, the land holds 10 industrial and research-and-development buildings. Nine buildings would be demolished and two new buildings would be constructed. The new buildings will be called Building 21 and 22 and could house internal Facebook events of about 2,000 people. The expansion will come with a signalized intersection at Bayfront and a bike-and-pedestrian corridor cutting down the middle of the campus from north to south.
Facebook purchased the campus last year, and in December 2014 the city approved a conditional use permit at the southwest part of Facebook, Building 23, to be completed in 2016. This construction is separate from the expansion project, though it is in the same area.
The city expects to review the final environmental impact report, land use entitlements and development agreement in the summer of 2016.
“I’m very excited. I think it’s going to be a great project,” Onken said.