May 30, 2012
Facebook HQ Expansion Plan Undergoes City Council Review
Menlo Park, California officials will review plans that would allow Facebook to employ an additional 3,300 people at its headquarters for about 6,600 employees total. An approval is expected for the environmental impact report and development agreement for the project.
Facebook, in return, would pay the city an average of $850,000 per year over ten years to cover the impact of the additional workers on city infrastructure, reports Bonnie Eslinger of the Mercury Daily News.
“We´re very lucky that we have Facebook,” Mayor Kirsten Keith told the Associated Press. “I feel like we´ve had a very open process and we´ve utilized it well and I´m happy with the conclusions and process.”
Of the dozen people who spoke to the council - about half were from East Palo Alto - voiced concerns that the millions of dollars Facebook committed to Menlo Park falls short of meeting the communities´ housing, jobs and other needs.
Also expected in the deal is a one-time payment of more than $1 million for capital improvements and to establish a $500,000 community improvement fund, along with a high school internship and job training programs.
Facebook eventually wants to expand to a new campus across the street that would allow it to employ 9,400 people. The social networking company plans to construct five new buildings totaling approximately 440,000 square feet as part of that project.
Local citizens have raised concerns about traffic, and the neighboring city of Atherton has threatened a lawsuit saying the environmental impact report does not adequately address an expected increase in traffic at one particular intersection. Facebook has said it will encourage employees to carpool, take public transit or walk or bike to work.
The council also approved an agreement negotiated with Facebook that provides the city with more than $15 million in fees and public benefits within the next 15 years, including internship and job training programs, backing for affordable housing, and improvements to bike and pedestrian pathways.
With $16 billion in the bank from its recent but troubled IPO, the social network giant should have no trouble meeting its local obligations.