We had big debates about the future of work – will we work from home, from the office, or maybe from anywhere?
Well, Facebook has given up his assignment and works from the office.
In a series of articles in the local press overnight, the New York Times and others confirmed that Facebook has signed the main office lease for the James A. Farley building, one block south of Penn Station in west Midtown Manhattan . The company's lease was 730,000 square feet. This will add to the company's existing 2.2 million square feet, which include 770 Broadway, the nominal headquarters of theinformationsuperhighway in NYC, and that of our parent company Verizon Media.
It is an explanation of the future of the Farley building, which is now the center of New York's postal services. The building has long played a central role in the renovation of Penn Station. The beautiful facade borders Eighth Avenue, which many planners believed could be the location for a new competitor to Grand Central Station after the original Penn Station was torn down decades ago. After decades of debate, the opening of a new passenger hall and platform for Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road is planned for 2021.
Facebook joins several other technology companies in the neighborhood. Google’s headquarters in New York City are located on Eighth Avenue in Chelsea. This was a similarly massive transaction when Google bought the former port authority building in one of the largest real estate deals in New York City history in 2010. Datadog, one of New York City's main stores, is located on Eighth Avenue in the main building of the New York Times. Amazon now has its headquarters just a few blocks east.
While this is certainly strong evidence that the New York tech scene is still alive, the move has been odd given the tech industry's broad movement toward remote work in recent months. Facebook itself has announced that it will also be able to work remotely in the future and set up additional regional hubs in cities like Dallas. In our May article, "Facebook's CEO estimated that over the next decade, half of the company could work entirely remotely."
Rumors of Facebook's takeover of the Farley building have continued since last year, and it was believed that even Apple was keeping an eye on the location to expand its… Big Apple presence.
Office space of this size and size is hard to find, which is why Facebook is now likely to press the trigger instead of waiting for more information on the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the future of work. Still, the company's mentality seems clear: workers will have more space to get to work, perhaps with some more flexible work arrangements.