Facebook is dropping $35 million to lease a beautiful, earthquake-resistant skyscraper in San Francisco — take a look inside

Facebook is coming to San Francisco at 181 Fremont.

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Facebook is coming to San Francisco at 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

Thousands of Facebook employees are about to experience a much more pleasant commute.

The social-media giant has signed a lease at 181 Fremont, a mixed-use skyscraper that will be the tallest residential building on the West Coast once it’s completed later this year. The tower rises 70 stories over San Francisco’s Financial District and will house between 2,000 and 3,000 Facebook and Instagram employees across 33 floors.

The 436,000-square-foot office space will be Facebook’s first outpost in San Francisco. The company currently shuttles thousands of employees from the city to its headquarters in Menlo Park, which is about 35 miles south. The jaunt can take up to two hours in traffic.

The blockbuster deal, which was first reported by the San Francisco Business Times, marks San Francisco’s largest office lease in three years. The Business Times didn’t report the duration of the lease but said the asking rent was “around $80 per square foot,” which would total $35 million for the entire space. Facebook declined to confirm details of the lease.

Facebook employees will share the stunning new skyscraper with some well-heeled residential tenants – the upper floors hold 67 luxury condos.

These renderings of 181 Fremont give us a glimpse inside Facebook’s new building.


Facebook’s first outpost in San Francisco is one of the most lavish towers in the city.

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181 Fremont is the glittering skyscraper in the center in this artistic rendering of the San Francisco skyline. The image doesn’t include its neighbor, Salesforce Tower, which is soon to be the tallest building in San Francisco.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

The designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy and the architectural firm Heller Manus Architects set out to make 181 Fremont the epitome of luxury. Developers of the $665 million tower spared no expense.

“The vision for 181 Fremont is not simply to raise the bar for luxury living in San Francisco, but to set an entirely new one,” says a brochure for interested residential buyers.


It rises 70 stories over the Financial District and neighbors the new Salesforce Tower.

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An artistic rendering of 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

The developers of 181 Fremont describe the building as an “engineering marvel.” An aluminum-based exoskeleton twists around the building to provide added support.

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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences


In the case of an earthquake, the tower’s crisscrossing joints are designed to behave like shock absorbers, reducing stress from seismic activity, according to the developer.

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An artistic rendering of 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

Matt Lituchy, the chief investment officer of the building’s developer, Jay Paul Company, told Business Insider in 2016 that 181 Fremont was the most “resilient” building on the West Coast.

In the event of a major earthquake, residential and commercial tenants would be able to return and have complete access to the building within one month, according to Lituchy.


Even the elevator systems are designed for continuous operation during a catastrophic event like an earthquake, which is useful when you’re located 800 feet above ground.

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An artistic rendering shows 181 Fremont peaking above the San Francisco fog.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

An observation terrace wraps around the 52nd floor, providing unobstructed views. It’s unknown whether Facebook employees will have access to such spaces, which were designed for residents.

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An artistic rendering of 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

181 Fremont will be the only building with direct access to the new Transbay Transit Center, a $2.3 billion transportation hub which is currently under construction across the street.

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An artistic rendering of the Transbay Transit Center.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

The Transbay Transit Center will connect eight Bay Area counties through 11 transportation systems. Phase one of construction is expected to complete in 2017. Its opening is unknown.


Facebook told the San Francisco Business Times that the tower’s first occupants will be members of the photo-app division at Instagram, which Facebook acquired in 2012.

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An artistic rendering of a condo at 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

Source: San Francisco Business Times


181 Fremont’s 67 multimillion-dollar condos will occupy its top 17 floors. Facebook will be located on the 33 floors below, according to a spokesperson for the company.

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An artistic rendering of 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

Because 181 Fremont has so few condos, it’s intended to be even more exclusive than the city’s high-end Millennium Tower (which has 440 units) and Infinity Tower (with 650 units).

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An artistic rendering of a condo interior at 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

In 2016, the San Francisco Business Times reported that condo sales prices started at $2,400 per square foot, which is more than double the city’s average price per square foot.

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A model unit is shown inside 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

Sources: San Francisco Business Times and Trulia


Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, one of America’s most awarded designers, selected craftsmen from around the world to provide the finest materials and finishes for the residences.

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A model unit is shown inside 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

The interior design team spent months in Italy hand-picking Calacatta Carrara marble for the condos’ bathroom walls. Facebook’s bathrooms are not likely to be this fancy, of course.

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A model unit is shown inside 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

When standing in the condos, the walls appear to hover above the ground. Suspended base walls aren’t usually found outside museums, but Diaz-Azcuy liked the look of lightness.

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A model unit is shown inside 181 Fremont.
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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Matt Lituchy, chief investment officer of Jay Paul Company, the building’s developer and landlord, told Business Insider that the suspended walls were a huge budget-suck.

“It’s one of the first things designers want and developers throw out,” he said. But Jay Paul Company easily gave in. “Whatever [Diaz-Azcuy] said, we went along with,” he added.


Even from the lower 34 floors, the view from Facebook’s offices should be stunning.

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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences

181 Fremont is scheduled to open later this year.

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An artistic rendering of 181 Fremont.
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Courtesy of 181 Fremont Residences