Facebook Is Making its Way Into the Real Estate Business

Facebook Is Making its Way Into the Real Estate Business

Facebook investing in real estate

Facebook is planting its roots in the real world, with a planned community near its Menlo Park, California, headquarters complete with a supermarket, restaurants, shops, and a 193-room hotel.

Willow Village will truly be a company town with 1,729 apartments on-site, including 320 affordable units and 120 set aside for seniors.

The development of the 59-acre site, currently an industrial and research complex, is a collaboration between Facebook and Signature Development Group, a Bay Area real estate developer best known for the Hive, a mixed-use commercial, shopping, and residential space in Oakland.

The design for Willow Village is pedestrian-friendly, with bike lanes and ample sidewalks, and includes numerous public green spaces, including a quarter-mile elevated park akin to the High Line in Manhattan.

Plans also call for a new 1.25-million-square-foot modernist office building, including a massive glass-domed area envisioned as a collaborative area.

“Facebook wants to modernize this and bring it into the 21st century,” Mike Ghielmetti, president of Signature Development, The company filed paperwork to redevelop the half-century-old Prologis Menlo Science and Technology Park in 2017, but was met with resistance during the two-year public comment period. Residents in nearby neighborhoods like Belle Haven complained it would worsen traffic and make housing even more scarce.

In response, the social-media giant came back with a blueprint with about 30% less office space and 200 more apartments. It also agreed to prioritize the construction of the grocery store and other amenities open to non-employees.

The 200,000 square feet of retail space, which also includes cafes and a pharmacy, will be built around a 1.5-acre town square.

Though Facebook made headlines several years ago when it began offering $10,000 incentives to employees who lived within 10 miles of its Silicon Valley headquarters, Willow Village will not exclusively be for workers.

Facebook investing in real estate

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