Facebook planning Willow Village community close to Menlo Park HQ



Facebook Inc. is getting into real estate development, financing a 59-acre planned community close to its Menlo Park, California headquarters that will be home to 1,729 apartments, a hotel with 193 rooms, plus retail outlets and a quarter-mile elevated park.

The social media giant said 320 of the apartments it will build will be more affordable units, and another 120 are reserved for seniors, it said. The development will be marketed at Facebook employees, but not exclusively, the Architectural Digest reported.

The Willow Village development will see Facebook collaborate with Bay Area real estate developer Signature Development Group.

The centerpiece of the village will be a new 1.25 million square-foot office building that features a glass-domed area that Facebook is pitching as a “collaborative area”. The 50-year old Prologis Menlo Science and Technology Park building will also be redeveloped as part of the project.

Facebook had faced some public opposition to the planned development when it first announced its plans. Nearby residents who were invited to comment raised concerns about increased traffic in the area. But Facebook later made moves to address those concerns and add more housing.

The company revised its original plan to include about 30% less office space and 200 additional apartments. It also said it would prioritize construction of a grocery store and other amenities open to non-employees and non-residents at the community.

“We’re deeply committed to being a good neighbor in Menlo Park,” John Tenanes, Facebook’s VP of real estate, told the Mercury News last year.“We listened to a wide range of feedback and the updated plan directly responds to community input.”

Willow Village will be a pedestrian-friendly place with ample sidewalks and bike lanes, and have lots of public green spaces, Facebook pledged. This includes a quarter-mile long elevated park similar to the High Line in Manhattan, it said. There will also be 200,000 square-feet of retail space centered around a 1.5 acre town square.

Other tech giant besides Facebook have also made forays into housing in a bid to address a serious shortage of homes in California. Google, which has pledged to invest $1 billion in real estate, was recently granted approval to move ahead with its Downtown West project in San Jose that will include 4,000 housing units, 800 short-term residences for corporate guests, retail space and more. Construction on that development is set to begin next year.

About Mike Wheatley

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at mike@realtybiznews.com.