Facebook likes Burlingame, as the world’s preeminent social media company is planning to bring its virtual reality company to a new office building under construction along the Bayshore.
A Facebook representative made an announcement Thursday, Aug. 16, confirming the company’s interest in moving into the mid-Peninsula.
“While our headquarters will remain in Menlo Park, Facebook is in discussions to secure office space in Burlingame to support our growing workforce. In the months ahead, we will continue to work closely with local leaders and city representatives to ensure Facebook’s presence is a benefit to the community,” said company spokeswoman Tera Randall in an email.
Oculus, the company’s virtual reality headset venture, will be the branch of Facebook heading into the massive commercial project constructed at 300 Airport Blvd, the former drive-in theater, according a Planning Commission discussion Monday, Aug. 13.
Mayor Michael Brownrigg expressed his enthusiasm over the social media titan’s announcement.
“No more ‘Boring-game,’” declared Brownrigg, who said the decision is further indication of the city’s viability as a hub of industry.
Under terms of the agreement approved by the commission, Facebook will be the sole occupant of the 767,000 square feet to be spread across two five-story buildings, one seven-story building, one eight-story building and a two-story amenities building.
The project is still under construction, and it likely to be finished late next year, but the occupancy date may be pushed out further while Facebook customizes its finish.
Beyond the additional investment brought to Burlingame, Brownrigg noted Facebook’s future presence stands to bolster a renaissance taking place along the city’s eastern region.
“This is part of the city’s overall vision to make the most of our Bayside land and turn this into a real destination,” he said.
The site, which has sat vacant since the former drive-in theater was closed and demolished nearly a decade ago, was purchased by global investment firm H&Q Asia Pacific in 2015 and pushed ahead aggressively until construction started last year.
Chris Hom, Facebook’s real estate and strategy official, said the site’s location between the company’s Menlo Park headquarters and new San Francisco offices, as well as proximity to San Francisco International Airport made it especially appealing, according to video of the commission’s meeting.
He also said the scenic nature of the Bayfront contributed to the company’s decision to invest in Burlingame.
Brownrigg echoed that sentiment, and said he believes Facebook’s presence and contribution will further help beautify the area which largely laid fallow and ignored for years.
“It’s pretty amazing. It’s going to be beautiful. There will just be a remarkable new Bayside for residents and visitors,” he said.
Furthering that transformation will be other developments in the area east of Highway 101, where adjacent to that site, interest has been expressed in developing property owned by the State Lands Commission into a hotel. North of the proposed site, sports entertainment enterprise Topgolf is slated to move into the city’s driving range.
A proposal has also been filed to build the SFO Technology Center, slated to house more than 239,000 square feet of office space, about 11,000 square feet for a restaurant and more than 8,000 square feet of retail space at the former Hyatt Cinema site.
Considering the uptick in building interest, Brownrigg said officials will need to keep a close eye on the traffic possibly generated in the area. But he said officials are confident in Facebook’s desire to promote alternative modes of transportation to employees, in an effort to cut down on congestion.
Ultimately, Brownrigg said the decision marks the start of a new era for the city and its growth, especially along the waterfront.
“This is a beautiful, beautiful spot and in the old days, everyone turned their back on the Bayside. But we are embracing it,” he said.
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