After weeks of rumors, Facebook has just signed a 10-year lease to move its New York office into a new, nearly 100,000-square-foot space over two floors at 770 Broadway in Manhattan. The interior will be designed by famed architect Frank Gehry who is masterminding its Menlo Park Headquarters expansion. Facebook NY’s engineering, design, marketing, sales, and comms teams will move there in early 2014.
The upgrade comes from the 55,000-square-foot space at 335 Madison Ave. it opened in 2008 for sales and marketing. Crain’s New York originally leaked that Facebook was eying the 770 Broadway real estate but implied it would take over the whole building rather than just two floors. The space at the west edge of the East Village falls in the increasingly techie “Silicon Alley.” It will house all of Facebook’s New York operations and give it room to grow.
Facebook tells me it chose Gehry after being impressed with his work at 1 Hacker Way, including his ability to achieve cutting-edge design at an efficient price. Facebook says “we expect the space to be very similar to our West Campus plan. This will include open floor plans, natural lighting, and an emphasis on space for collaboration.” Gehry says ” We are looking forward to creating a space that speaks to the values of Facebook and allows them to continue to do their best work.”
770 Broadway was originally built in 1906, designed by Daniel Burnham, and spans from east 8th to 9th street. It was the home of the Wanamaker department store, but now its main tenant is AOL [disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by AOL]. The building is “groundbreakingly green” with ultra-efficient lighting and water systems.
The two floors will give Facebook room to offer more perks to employees, which are helpful for signing new hires in a very competitive talent marketplace. Serkan Piantino, the head of Facebook New York’s engineering team, wrote in a Facebook Note announcing the new office that “We’ll have plenty of video conferencing equipment to make meeting with our colleagues in other offices really quick and easy. We’ll have room to build out a full service kitchen and serve great food throughout the day.”
Even New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is excited about the new space, noting “Facebook’s investment in New York City is another vote of confidence in our bright future and booming tech scene.” The 10-year lease shows that, while nimble mobile competitors are hoping to disrupt the social network, it sees a long future for its business of connecting people.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users.
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks.