Facebook expands again in Fremont as big tech lifts real estate market

Facebook has signed two large office leases in Fremont despite the spread of remote work during the coronavirus pandemic, a positive sign of growth for the beleaguered Bay Area economy.

The social media giant confirmed leases of 111,465 square feet at 6700 Dumbarton Circle and 115,000 square feet at 6750 Dumbarton Circle. That follows leases totaling 230,000 square feet at two neighboring locations in February. The four buildings have room for around 2,000 employees, though they may temporarily house fewer as office-density practices may change due to the pandemic.

The leases are some of the largest in the Bay Area this year, after the coronavirus pandemic brought the commercial real estate market to a virtual standstill. It’s further evidence that despite a significant embrace of working from home, some tech companies are still looking for real estate. Google recently expanded slightly in San Francisco, and the nonprofit OpenAI leased 95,700 square feet at 575 Florida St. in San Francisco. But the city’s leasing activity was the lowest it has been in decades in the third quarter, and the vacancy rate is spiking.

Fremont has become one of Facebook’s largest office hubs, where it now leases around 1.5 million square feet. In 2018, it leased 750,000 square feet among 14 buildings, also in the Dumbarton Circle area. Developer Peery Arrillaga owns all 18 buildings that Facebook leased. Fremont is a short drive across the Dumbarton Bridge from Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters.

“The Bay Area is our home, and we’re committed to being good neighbors as we grow — including in Fremont. We’re supporting teachers during distance learning through the Fremont Education Foundation, exploring opportunities to support STEM programming for Fremont youth, and we’ve partnered with the City of Fremont to invest in local small businesses,” said Chloe Meyere, a Facebook spokeswoman, in a statement.

It isn’t clear when the offices will open. Facebook employees can work from home through June 2021. Half of the company could work from home permanently within a decade, CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously said. But remote work has proved challenging for certain tasks like content moderation.

Despite ongoing controversy over its role in spreading misinformation and boycotts or spending pullbacks from some advertisers, Facebook had blockbuster earnings in the third quarter, with profit jumping 29% to $7.84 billion from a year earlier.

The company hired 4,100 new employees in the third quarter, for a total of more than 56,600 workers, up 32% from the previous year. The company exceeded its goal of 10,000 new hires in 2020 and already hired over 11,000 through September.

In August, Facebook leased 730,000 square feet at the James A. Farley Building in Manhattan, one of the largest office leases since the pandemic started.

Roland Li is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: roland.li@sfchronicle.com Twiter: @rolandlisf

Article source: https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Facebook-expands-again-in-Fremont-as-big-tech-15717222.php

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