Facebook will stay in the South Bay, but needs a new spot

As Facebook is back in a San Jose courtroom over a serious legal matter, the company is thinking about leaving its five-building Palo Alto "urban campus" near Stanford University.

Facebook officials did not announce when the company will be heading to its new home, or where the exact location is, but it seems a move must take place at some point.  The company is quickly outgrowing its makeshift office complex, and likely needs to build one large office building for all of its employees.

"We are pleased with the progress of our real estate search but have not entered into any definitive agreement at this point," Facebook said in a statement.

It seems most likely the company will remain somewhere in the South Bay, most likely staying in Palo Alto.  If Facebook does leave Palo Alto, going to Sunnyvale or Mountain View are two other possible locations for the move.  It's possible Facebook could take over Hewlett-Packard's old buildings on Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, but we'll have to patiently wait and see if that is what is going on at the moment.

Many start-ups are able to prosper in downtown Palo Alto, but must think about re-locating at some point after becoming too big for the area.  But a lack of building space may force the company to leave University Avenue and head to a city that will allow them to either build one big office with room for future additions, or an area where they can have several buildings in an official campus setting.

Staying in Palo Alto will be difficult because most large office buildings now available lie outside of the city.

The company has strived to hire young talent that helped drive the working age of Palo Alto down.  The Facebook employees help the local economy by living in the area, eating at local Palo Alto restaurants, and shopping at local retail outlets.  The thought of the 500+ employees possibly leaving the area to head to another city is a tough pill to swallow for businesses in the area.  

For employees living in Palo Alto less than one mile from the complex, Facebook also provides a housing subsidy for its employees.  It is unknown if the same offer will be made to employees who live a close distance to the new Facebook headquarters when the company relocates.

Facebook finally overtook MySpace as the top social networking web site in the world.  comScore statistics indicate the site had 123.9 million unique visitors in May, while MySpace had a still impressive 114.6 million users. 

As we wait to see what happens in court, and to see if Facebook can keep its lead over MySpace, it should prove to be an interesting summer for the social networking site.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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