Facebook has reportedly sent a letter of intent for space in a San Francisco skyscraper at 181 Fremont. If it goes through with renting the space, the plan is to send less than 100 employees from Instagram to work there on a test basis and occupy the premises for an undefined amount of time. While it's easy to imagine Facebook renting more space in the same tower if the test is a success, the company has not said anything thus far about the property, and the inside source that revealed the letter of intent has no information on plans beyond the test. According to recent reports, Facebook has not signed a lease or finalized anything yet and is still looking at other properties in the area.
The property would give Facebook a foothold in a popular area of Silicon Valley and quite possibly give its recruiting power a boost, should it go through with the plan on a large scale. Most of Facebook's employees are still at the company's Menlo Park headquarters, and things would presumably stay that way, even if a satellite office in San Francisco is opened. While it's entirely possible that Facebook could pick up its roots and move all operations closer to the heart of the Silicon Valley area, the benefits of such a move would be decidedly limited and would take a lot of time, effort, and money. A smaller satellite office could be a better choice for a number of reasons; Facebook could start up entirely new operations from the building, use it for a specialized team like Building 8, and use it for recruiting locals for its main operations while still having the option of easily scrapping the plan without significant losses.
Facebook has been expanding its operations in a number of areas lately. While Building 8 works on moonshot projects like thought-to-text solutions, the main arm of the company has been working on AI-based technology designed for resolving everyday issues that the company faces, as well as consumer-oriented AI products like chatbots for Facebook's Messenger. On top of all that, Facebook has been increasing its stake in video lately, including reportedly setting up deals to get premium shows for its Video offerings. All of this means opportunities to bring in new talent and expand the company's operations into new areas, which is exactly what a move like this one would entail.