Facebook's real estate is entering a new chapter. The Menlo Park-based company plans to build a mixed-use village comprising some 1,500 housing units, a pharmacy, parking space, a strip mall and more just behind its headquarters in Menlo Park. The new extension will be called the Willow Campus, a 125,000 square-foot retail space that will form a vital part in Facebook's vision of creating a community that provides the necessary services to its employees and neighbors, according to John Tenanes, vice president for global facilities and real estate. Facebook will build the new campus on a space it acquired in 2015 that was formerly occupied by the Menlo Science & Technology Park.
Tenanes wrote in the company's blog that the company will kick off the multi-phased project by first filing its plan with Menlo Park this month. He adds that Facebook estimates the discussions with local government officials and community organizations to run for two years. Over the next couple of years, Facebook will begin constructions of the project, with the first phase consisting of the grocery, retail, housing and office spaces due to be completed in early 2021. Of the 1,500 housing units Facebook intends to build on the campus, 15% will be offered at rates well below the current market valuation. In addition to providing a residential space, the in-campus housing is also intended to help alleviate traffic woes in the area. Tenanes notes that traffic congestions and delays in the area arise from the lack of investments in the region's transportation infrastructure. He says the new plan is on top of Facebook's existing effort to address a similar issue. Called the Catalyst Housing Fund, the existing project aims to provide affordable housing in the area in collaboration with community organizations, according to Tenanes.
Facebook also expects the subsequent phases to take 24 months each to complete. The Office for Metropolitan Architecture will design the new campus, which will also include seven public parks and plazas measuring up to two acres. This is only among the social media giant's plans to expand its presence. In June, the company reportedly made an intent to occupy a space in San Francisco for its Instagram employees. Facebook also plans to open a new HQ in London this year. More updates about Facebook's real estate plan is expected to follow over the coming months and years.