Sunday, June 2, 2013

Facebook to Triple Size of New York City Office

Facebook is moving its New York offices south to 770 Broadway, nearly tripling its city footprint, and marking the latest technology company to set up shop in the Midtown South neighborhood. The world’s largest social media network has signed a 10-year lease for nearly 160,000 square feet in the over 1.1 million square foot building. Its 200 New York employees are currently located in a 55,000-square-foot space on two floors at 335 Madison Ave. Facebook is slated to move into the Frank Gehry-designed space at the start of 2014.

Renowned architect, Frank Gehry, will be designing workspaces for the Facebook Engineering team over two levels of the historic Wanamaker Building in the East Village.

The over 1.1 million square foot, 15-story structure, which covers an entire city block between 8th & 9th Streets, was one of the earliest buildings  to employ a cast iron facade, allowing for more generous window sizes, and consequently, the entrance of more natural light.

Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker purchased the building for his department store in 1896. The new Facebook offices will be located on the 7th and 8th floor in the 'annex' of the original structure.

Although the architect is in the midst of developing the new Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the downtown building will be the new home for Facebook Engineering, developers of the site's most popular and promising products and technologies. [See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Jun 1, 2013]

Facebook's moving plan comes amid an aggressive technology expansion in the city. There were more than 90,000 people working at 486 high-tech companies in the city in 2011, a 30% increase from 2008.

Meanwhile, bigger companies such as Google, Inc and Yahoo are increasing their footprint in the city. Yahoo Inc., which last month agreed to buy New York-based Tumblr for $1.1 billion, plans to expand its New York operations by up to 60%.

The city is investing in expanding its technology sector. The city will contribute $100 million and 11 acres of public land toward an applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island, a joint venture between Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology slated to open in 2016.

Annual rents in the 770 Broadway building are in the mid-$70s per square foot, according to a brokers familiar with the location. Facebook will be paying a reported $12 million annually for the space, which will include a cafeteria with its own chef, smaller kitchens with snacks and drinks and an open floor plan

Technology companies tend to favor trendy neighborhoods like Chelsea and SoHo in part because of the lifestyle they offer employees. 770 Broadway, which lies at the nexus of New York City’s ‘silicon alley’, is also home to AOL, Inc. and The Huffington Post.

Facebook, which has been in New York since 2008, moved into 335 Madison Ave. in 2010 when it only had sales and marketing employees. The New York team, which now comprises sales, marketing, communication, design and engineering, is slated to move into the Gehry-designed space at the start of 2014.