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Facebook's New Campus Moves Closer to Reality

The plan includes work areas, housing and parking.

 

Menlo Park’s Planning Commission unanimously approved of a contract between the city and Facebook on Monday, an act that brings $4,507,291 onto the negotiation table.

Facebook’s developers want to demolish all the structures that are on the land at 312 and 313 Constitution Drive, uproot 175 heritage trees, and build a new campus upon it. This is phase two of the company’s transition into its new global headquarters in Menlo Park which began in 2011 when it left Palo Alto.

Before the building permits can be issued, conditions must be met.

The city’s municipal code requires land to be rezoned for “affordable” housing when a new business sets up shop in town, with the goal of creating domiciles for the new workers who will be employed there.

Menlo Park’s Housing Commission reviewed the project on February 20 and unanimously approved guidelines for developing the land, which include a Below Market Rate Housing Agreement with Facebook’s property holder, Giant Properties LLC. On Monday night, the city’s Planning Commission reviewed them and unanimously voted to uphold this decision. Planning Commissioner John A. O’ Malley motioned to approve the BMR Agreement and was seconded by Commissioner Henry Riggs.

This agreement is different from the standard agreement for a property that’s not zoned for residential use, said Rachel Grossman, who is the associate planner for the city of Menlo Park tasked with guiding the project. The city has three options, one of which is expected to be adopted by the city council in March. Facebook can either pay the city about $4 million, construct 15 new below market rate housing units, or agree to a combination of the two.

Giant LLC is exploring housing construction, but has not presented the city with any plans to do so, according to the version of the BMR Housing Agreement dated February 20, 2013.

City staffers arrived at the in lieu fee by considering the amount of new floor space that would be created by the project and putting price tag on it. Facebook’s proposed west campus would put 433,656 square feet of gross floor area on to the land, which is a net increase of 306,410 square feet of land; the fee is $14.71 per square foot.

Notably, the 22.12-acre project will have 1,499 vehicle parking spaces and 90 bike parking spots.

Menlo Park’s City Council has the final vote on the matter. It is expected to take action on all land use requests from the developer in late March.


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