News - February 16, 2011

Design 'charette' set for Facebook campus

• City invites residents to a forum where they can help design neighborhood development in Belle Haven.

by Sandy Brundage

The city of Menlo Park will host a "design charrette" — or, in Facebook vocabulary, a Hackathon — on Saturday, March 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Facebook's new home on the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park.

The charette will be a kind of forum for residents to voice their ideas about development in the Belle Haven neighborhood, which is near the new Facebook campus at Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway.

"We're going to have debate about what we can do and what we can't do," Mayor Rich Cline told a packed Menlo Park City Council chamber on Feb. 8, when Facebook held a press conference to unveil the company's plan to move to Menlo Park this summer.

David Ebersman, chief financial officer, and John Tenanes, director of real estate, spoke on behalf of Facebook.

Facebook now holds a 15-year lease on the former Sun campus, and bought two additional parcels of land on Constitution Drive. Mr. Tenanes said the company has the option to buy the campus after five years.

The Menlo Park City Council, with the possible exception of Andy Cohen, attended the press conference, along with some familiar faces from around town: the city's business development manager, Dave Johnson; former council member John Boyle; Chamber of Commerce president Fran Dehn; and gadfly Morris Brown, among others.

Mayor Rich Cline welcomed Facebook at the press conference, and predicted community debate — and drama — over the future direction of the Belle Haven-Willows area. "And it's going to be loud," he said.

"We like a little drama, too," responded Mr. Tenanes.

In response to community questions about getting hired by the social networking giant, Mr. Tenanes said Facebook will set up a dedicated page on its website to advertise Menlo Park jobs.


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