Facebook, Inc., as the biggest employer of a city in Northern California, said it is planning to turn a former park into an integrated, mixed-use village that will provide services, notably housing and transit solutions.
John Tenanes, a vice president of the online social media and social networking service, posted a message Friday on its website, syaing that "we are now planning to redevelop the former Menlo Science & Technology Park which we intend to call Willow Campus."
Facebook moved in late 2011, more than seven years after its initial founding in Cambridge, Massachusetts, its headquarters to Menlo Park, a city 32 miles (51 km) south of San Francisco.
Aside from its newly-built headquarters across the street of the old ones that formerly housed Sun Microsystems, Inc., Facebook is filing its plan for the Willow Campus with city of Menlo Park this month.
"We hope to contribute significantly to the housing supply by building 1,500 units of housing on the campus, 15 percent of which will be offered at below market rates. This added on-site housing should also mitigate traffic impacts from growth," Tenanes wrote.
"These efforts complement our ongoing work to address the issue, including the Catalyst Housing Fund for affordable housing we established in partnership with community groups to fund affordable housing for our local area. The fund was initiated last year with an initial investment of 18.5 million dollars that we hope will grow," he added.
At time of its move to Menlo Park, Facebook hired 6,600 people at the site. However, the city's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report listed Facebook as having 7,091 employees at its headquarters; and the company had a total of more than 17,000 employees at the end of 2016.
The influx of people hired by technology companies in Silican Valley, where the supply of housing is limited, has made rent increasingly less affordable and traffic ever worse for local residents.
As part of Facebook's solution, the Willow Campus is designed to be a neighborhood center with 125,000 square feet, or 11,600 square meters, of retail space, including a grocery store, pharmacy and other community-facing retail.
"We envision construction will follow in phases, with the first to include the grocery, retail, housing and office completed in early 2021, and subsequent phases will take two years each to complete," Tenanes wrote.