Facebook Is Getting Into the Real Estate Business

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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 development’s leafy Town Square.

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, told The Mercury News in January.

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.

A rendering of the Facebook project’s sizable master plan.



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