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Facebook shoots for major headquarters expansion

Menlo Park's City Council agrees to let the social-networking giant expand within its borders in exchange for a host of benefits, funding, amenities, and town improvements.

Facebook's Menlo Park campus. Facebook

Facebook is thinking ahead as it prepares to cash in with its IPO. It has plans of expanding the headquarters, hiring thousands more employees, and adding a new campus. Besides bankers, venture capitalists, early investors, and some employees getting rich, the town of Menlo Park, Calif., is also looking to share the wealth.

The expansion plans for the 57-acre, nine-building campus are the result of a negotiated deal between the social networking company and Menlo Park's government officials. And yesterday, Menlo Park's City Council unanimously approved the plans, according to the Palo Alto Daily News.

As part of the deal, Facebook said it will supply the city with a number of benefits, including annual payments to the city of $800,000 the first five years, $900,000 for the following five years and $1 million after that, along with increases based on the Consumer Price Index, according to the Palo Alto Daily News. The social media company also said it will make a one-time payment of $1.1 million for city capital improvement projects and a $500,000 donation to create a fund to serve residents in specific neighborhoods.

On top of financial agreements, Facebook also arranged to give job trainings, host a high school internship program, encourage employees to go to local businesses, provide housing assistance through investments in low-income housing tax credits, work with nonprofits to protect local wildlife habitats, and fund bike and pedestrian projects.

In exchange, Menlo Park agreed it would process permits quickly and refrain from making Facebook pay any unexpected fees.

Facebook moved its 2,000 employees from Palo Alto into these offices less than a year ago taking over a building that used to house Sun Microsystems. Originally, Sun was capped with a 3,600-employee limit. The Palo Alto Daily News suggests that another reason Facebook agreed to the deal is because it hopes the city will discontinue this employee limit and allow 6,600 people on the campus.

The social-networking company is also in the works of building another outpost on 22 acres in Menlo Park called the "West Campus." Construction is slated for early 2013 and Facebook hopes to bring another 2,800 employees here.