Facebook has obtained Menlo Park's permission to build a second campus west of Bayfront Expressway, near its headquarters on the other side of the road.
"Congratulations," Mayor Peter Ohtaki told Facebook officials Tuesday night when the city council, with Catherine Carlton absent, voted 4-0 to allow the social network company to proceed with its plans. "Where's the 'Like' button?"
The company intends to construct an exceptionally long 433,555-square-foot building designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry that features a rooftop park. The 22-acre West Campus site is located at 312 and 313 Constitution Drive.
With offices built above a surface-level parking lot, the complex will rise to 73 feet in some spots though most of it will be about 45 feet high, said Rachel Grossman, an associate city planner.
While Gehry is known for his spectacular works such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, his creative partner Craig Webb told the city council that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other company officials asked that the design for the Menlo Park building be low key.
As a result, some of the earlier ideas such as one that envisioned the building's ends flaring out like butterfly wings were dropped, Webb said.
"They felt some of those things were too flashy and not in keeping with the kind of the culture of Facebook, so they asked us to make it more anonymous," Webb said. "Frank (Gehry) was quite willing to tone down some of the expression of architecture in the building."
When finished, much of the white stucco building will be hidden by the landscaping and the rooftop park, he said.
"Our intent is that it almost becomes like a hillside, with the landscape really taking the forefront," Webb said.
The campus will include a park-like entrance off Willow Road, open to the public. A tunnel beneath Bayfront Expressway will connect Facebook's two campuses.
Before voting, council members expressed their enthusiasm for the project.
"I feel very lucky that we'll have a Frank Gehry building here," Council Member Kirsten Keith said.
Council Member Rich Cline said he was impressed that the rooftop park would include oak trees.
The council approved a package of land use entitlements and agreements related to the West Campus project and authorized rezoning the site so the building could exceed 35 feet and cover 55 percent of the property instead of a maximum of 50 percent.
In addition, the council approved an environmental impact report and an official statement that says the development's benefits would outweigh negative consequences such as increased traffic at some intersections and construction noise.
Email Bonnie Eslinger at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow her at twitter.com/bonnieeslinger ___