Facebook takes over Palo Alto - Valleywag

Anthony Townsend's picture

Valleywag, the uber-obnoxious Bay Area gossip blog has a great piece on the impact a rapidly-expanding Facebook.com has on downtown Palo Alto (The Institute is right across the street!)

Real Estate: Facebook takes over Palo Alto - Valleywag:
Is Facebook the new Google? In one respect, yes. Just like the ever-expanding search engine, Facebook is gobbling up prime Silicon Valley real estate, setting its sites on downtown Palo Alto's office space. In addition to their main offices at 156 University Avenue and 164 Hamilton Ave, they recently opened up a third office across the street at 151 University, and will expand into another building on Hamilton sometime this fall. Add to that its $600-a-month subsidy to employees who live within a mile of the office, and the company's affecting rents, too. With 300 employees, and more being hired, Facebook's expansion is no surprise. But most tech hacks, writing from the comfort of their San Francisco desks, have only noted the company's cultural impact. If you're a Peninsula dweller, it's hard to notice the physical -- and economic -- impact. Here's what the influx of fresh-faced Facebookers means to you.


Technorati Tags: economic development, puppy, social software

Anthony Townsend is a research director at the Institute for the Future (IFTF) in Palo Alto, California.




the "Interchange" pseudo-blog isn't "uber-obnoxious"?

Come on, every "creative class" city has their own smarmy blog nowadays, what's so unique about "Valleywag"? "Curbed New York" has got to be one the MOST obnoxious, hipster, snobbish blogs around.

Perhaps it's because the blog is from the Bay Area, which most people love to deride...

What's the problem here?

In my opinion, Valleywag's arguments are unprecedented and myopic. Each negative physical and economic impact he notes is clearly a personal complaint, when if reassessed, are obvious signs of a highly prosperous community. Parking: Valleywag claims Facebook has degraded an already scarce parking situation in downtown Palo Alto. But whose fault is that - Facebook's, for moving into vacant offices in a desirable location; or downtown Palo Alto's, for not providing a sufficient parking supply proportional to the amount of office space? Housing: I'm not even quite sure what the complaint is here - the downtown housing demand is booming and Facebook employees are filling all the vacancies? How is that bad? Office rents: The cost of office space is rising, but he fails to mention that it is because of a drop in vacancy of 350,000 square feet, and that office building construction on the Peninsula has returned to peak levels, easing pressure on rents as more space becomes available - that's all in the same article he quotes. Cafes: God forbid the downtown businesses experience success as a result of the newly arrived Facebook employees. Maybe Valleywag should be complaining about his "wonky broadband connection," rather than the other customers like himself.
After really looking at the issues at hand, Facebook has spread its success to all other branches of the downtown Palo Alto community, and has encouraged sustainability and community interaction with its policies. With demand increasing across the board, more cafes and housing will pop up to quell the market. It seems to me that Valleywag's consistent complaint is not that Facebook employees are taking over the area, but simply the fact that they are Facebook employees.

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