Internet giant Facebook has announced their plans to build an entire “village” on the 56-acre plot of land they bought in 2015. What was previously known as the “Menlo Science and Technology Park” will now be re-branded as “Willow Campus,” situated right across the street from their Menlo Park, CA headquarters location. The plan is not only to build housing for those that will be working “on campus” and nearby, but also to create a community and bring more affordable housing to Silicon Valley.
In recent years, in addition to the uptick in jobs in the area – thanks to companies like Facebook and Google who have based their operations out of the San Francisco Bay area – there has also been an influx of new residents and a lack of affordable housing for everyone. It’s reasonable that when the job market increases so will the population, but the neighborhoods were not ready for it and now places to live (that aren’t unworldly expensive) are far and few between. In some cases, people commute well over an hour to work already, not including the delays due to the number of people using public transit.
This has caused cities like San Francisco to implement features like Wi-Fi on buses, that way people can start working on their way to work. All those things you do from the comfort of your home office or laptop while enjoying your morning coffee, like checking e-mails and such, many people spend their morning commute doing. The only way to combat this is to see an increase in the supply of low-cost or at least reasonably affordable housing – and Facebook believes they have the solution.
Willow Campus is going to have 1,500 new residences, which will be home to both Facebook employees who work on-campus or at the location across the way as well as members of the public looking for a more affordable place to live. In fact, they haven’t mentioned how they expect to be able to do this without a big loss on their part, but Facebook intends to sell at least 15 percent of the residences at below market rates! All of this is a step towards creating a better community and work place.
The “village” will also include 1.75 million square feet of office space – but this office space will be entirely dedicated to Facebook employees, many of whom will live on site. They also plan to build a retail space of about 125,000 square feet, which would include a grocery store, pharmacy, as well as “additional community facing retail,” which could include a hotel, restaurant, cafes, and more. Overall, most people will not see a need to regularly leave Willow Campus, especially not if they are one Facebook’s employees.
[Featured Image by Stephen Lam/Getty Images]