Facebook Releases Plans To Build A Mixed-Used Village In Silicon Valley

Facebook has disclosed plans to transform its headquarters in Silicon Valley into a mixed-use settlement that will have homes, retail shops and offices. Dubbed ‘Willow Campus’ the idea came about as a result of a shortage of housing and inadequate transport infrastructure for employees of the social media giant.

“Working with the community, our goal for the Willow Campus is to create an integrated, mixed-use village that will provide much needed services, housing, and transit solutions as well as office space,” Facebook’s real estate and global facilities vice president, John Tenanes, said.

Construction in two years

Plans for the campus were submitted to officials of Menlo Park on Thursday by Facebook. If everything goes according to plan, the social media giant will start construction in 2019 and have some buildings ready for occupation by 2021.

At the end of this year’s first quarter, Facebook’s global workforce was 18,770. This was a 38% increase from the same period a year earlier. However, there is no information on how many of its employees are stationed at Menlo Park or how many are expected to be stationed at the new campus. Assuming there will be one employee occupying 200 square feet going by the commonly accepted ratio, Willow Campus could hold about 8,700 employees once it is completed.

Available to all

Facebook also disclosed that the housing facilities that would be built at Menlo Park would be made available to anyone and not just workers of the social network. Also, 15% of the housing units would be sold at prices below the market rates.

Designing of the campus has been contracted to OMA New York. Construction is envisaged to be done in phases. The initial phase will consist of building of office, housing, retail and grocery facilities and this should be completed in two years after the start of construction. Other phases will also take two years to complete.

Housing shortage

The mayor of Menlo Park, Kirsten Keith, revealed that there existed concerns over whether the plan by Facebook would lead to an increase in traffic. Keith, however, said that the plan fitted in with the long-term development plans of the city. The social network firm relocated to the city six years ago.

Facebook is not the only tech company in Silicon Valley that is trying to solve the housing shortage. Last month it was reported by The Wall Street Journal that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, had bought apartment units numbering 300 to house its employees temporarily.