The office is not dead.
Facebook has signed a lease for 730,000 square feet of space in midtown Manhattan at the Farley Building, the cornerstone of Vornado Realty Trust’s $2 billion redevelopment plan for the run-down neighborhood adjacent to New York’s Penn Station.
The tech giant will occupy all of the available office space in the Beaux Arts building, a former post office built in 1912 that takes up two full blocks across from the train station and Madison Square Garden, and will include restaurants and retail stores as part of its revamping.
The building’s floorplates “offer a horizontal campus unique to Manhattan and similar to tech offices in Silicon Valley,” Vornado stated in a press release about the leasing agreement.
The timing of the deal is notable, too, as Facebook announced in May that it will allow many of its 50,000 employees to work from home permanently. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects that in five to 10 years, about half of Facebook’s employees will work remotely.
The Farley Building will be “a dedicated hub for our tech and engineering teams,” said Robert Cookson, a real estate and facilities vice president at Facebook, which has had office space in New York in 2007. (Its leases in the city include office space at two other Vornado properties, at nearby Hudson Yards and further downtown at 770 Broadway.)
In recent years, New York City has become a more credible real estate rival to Silicon Valley, with all of the major tech companies having leases in the former. But in terms of local economic power, the finance sector still dominates.