Since 2017, Social Media Giant Facebook has been thinking of venturing into real estate with a 3.45-million developed space custom-built for its employees.
It has now announced a planned mega township near its Menlo Park, California headquarters, which, when ready, would boast a supermarket, restaurants, shops and a hotel with 193 rooms.
Currently, in the proposal stage, this would be called Willow Village. The team calls it nothing short of a world unto itself once ready. The Willow Village would contain 1729 homes and 9 office buildings. There would be 3 garages to park vehicles in and 7 plazas with parks. Visitors' would be made comfortable in the visitors' center. A grocery store would cater to the material needs of all. The creation of other retail spaces is also on the agenda.
The Willow Village Balanced Plan:
This plan is in tune with the cumulative vision of ConnectMenlo. At least three years of extensive listening to feedback from the public around, including some civic authorities, has gone into research into its creation. It aspires to the following:
- Providing affordable housing to the Facebook community.
- Minimizing traffic.
- Having amenities like a full-service grocery store, an elevated park with underground parking, and Town Square on campus to ease the people inhabiting the village.
- Other highlights of a vibrant community life include dining options outside and recreation opportunities.
These are among some of the objectives behind creating this Balanced Plan to cater to the Facebook community's needs and wants. Apart from these core aims, the Balanced Plan also has elements to improve upon these above core objectives.
- Increase of housing units from 1500 to 1729 and reduce planned employee ratio to 30% approximately, aiming to improve the jobs/housing ratio. Facebook essentially endeavors a sound work-life balance for all of its employees, and this entire city has been planned to keep that in mind.
- Improvement in affordability of housing units, with a considerable ratio of senior citizen housing.
- Prioritization of opening of the grocery store and building of the Town Square and elevated park so that people moving-in can avail of these amenities right from day one.
- Decrease in space allotted chiefly as an office area and restructuring some of the office space into a visitors' center as well as a collaborative and flexible meeting space. In essence, Facebook wishes its employees to experience a relaxed, informal atmosphere while working (particularly for the guests), ensuring relaxed social vibes, too, in the form of comfortable visitors resting in the visitors' center. It is important to note that 150,000 square feet of space are saved on account of this element of the Balanced Plan.
- Reduction of office traffic, underground parking for a pedestrian-only above-ground experience, and adhering to LEED Gold standards. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold buildings earn up to 70 points in environmental sustainability.
- The Willow Road connects directly to the Town Square and has a 2-acre public park above it, with no cars to disturb the walkers and bikers.
Willow Village is a carefully thought-out, planned community with a lot of Menlo Park feedback going into it and the ease of working and enhanced work-life balance of the employees of Facebook.