The new project, near Facebook’s existing campus, will be partially completed by 2021.
Facebook is expanding again.
It’s been just over two years since Facebook moved into its 430,000-square-foot, Frank Gehry-designed headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Now the company is ready to expand again, and this time it wants to build a lot more than just office space for its workers.
Facebook on Friday unveiled plans to build what it will call its “Willow Campus,” a “mixed-use village” that sounds like a combination of a strip mall, a condo complex and an office park.
The new campus, which will be right behind Facebook’s existing headquarters in Menlo Park on a site the company acquired in 2015, will include a grocery store, a pharmacy and 1,500 housing units, more than 200 of which will be rented at “below market rates.” All of this will be open to the public, according to the company’s blog post. There will be 125,000 square feet of retail space in total, and 1.75 million square feet of office space, though it is unclear if the office will be reserved exclusively for Facebook. (A spokesperson said the company is “not able to discuss other specifics right now.”)
Facebook thinks the grocery, retail, housing and office portions of this project will be completed by 2021. This campus will be in addition to the company’s existing office space, not a replacement for it.
Facebook also envisions that this new campus will help with transit, which is poor in the Bay Area, both due to traffic and to a lack of public transit options between San Francisco and cities along the peninsula, where tech giants like Facebook and Google have set up sprawling campuses.
“The region’s failure to continue to invest in our transportation infrastructure alongside growth has led to congestion and delay,” the company wrote on its blog, saying it plans to build a transit center on this new campus and offer “east-west connections” (which don’t exist at the moment).
Imagine a Facebook-owned city that’s open to the public and also swarming with Facebook employees. If you fast-forward to the 2:35 minute mark on this video Facebook posted, you can get a better idea of what the company has in mind.
Tech companies have provided a lightning rod for angry Bay Area locals who have seen tech money dramatically change neighborhoods and rent prices. The buses that many tech companies use to shuttle employees from San Francisco down to their corporate headquarters have been protested and even smashed in the past.
Facebook is conscious of the stereotype and is trying to get out ahead of complaints early with its new campus.
“Going forward, we plan to continue to work closely with local leaders and community members to ensure Facebook’s presence is a benefit to the community. It’s one we’re lucky to call home.”
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