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Facebook unveils plans for giant new development in Menlo Park

Original post made on Jul 7, 2017

Facebook has announced plans for a major new office, residential and retail development near its headquarters at Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway in Menlo Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 7, 2017, 1:37 PM

Comments (23)

Posted by No, No, NO!!!5
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Jul 7, 2017 at 2:33 pm

Why would Mark Zuckerberg DO such an awful thing to an area he claims to LOVE?

If he wants and needs to expand, why not do it in the East Bay, where so many of his employees already come from!

Tens of thousands of new employees traveling across the Dumbarton, or on CalTrain, or 101 is going to make living here even harder. With all the required staggered shifts at FB and Google, even midday traffic is in a jam. Rush hour is all day long as it is?? What will it be like with more FB employees?

Zuckerberg brags that he has no commute because he works at home-- does he let any of his employees do that? Highly unlikely.

What is Zuckerberg thinking? Does he live SUCH a cloistered life that he is unaware of how much Menlo Park, Palo Alto and EPA living has deteriorated between Facebook and Google?

Why doesn't he save his company a whole lot of money and build elsewhere...plenty of qualified employees in Minnesota (Rochester, St Paul, Minneapolis), Oregon ( Portland, Eugene, Bend), or North Carolina ( Research Triangle, Charlotte, Chapel Hill).

San Jose is BEGGING for big companies to move there; so is New York State-- and NO business tax for a year!

Zuck, put your thinking cap on and expand where there is ROOM and infrastructure to support it. Those two things do not exist on the Peninsula!

Posted by No, Zuck, No!
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Jul 7, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Don't do it, Zuckerberg-- there is no infrastructure to support this!

Come out of your shell and look around: the quality of life in Southern San Mateo and Northern Santa Claracounties have deteriorated thank to Facebook, Google, VMWare and Tesla.

Please expand somewhere with more and better roads, more room and a lower cost of living.

Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Marie is a registered user.

Where is the elementary school? Will Zuck's private school give priority to kids from his housing development?

Posted by Fully support
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 7, 2017 at 6:16 pm

I love it. I plan to sell or rent my house in Palo Alto in about 5 years after my kids get out of high school. I will leave this overcrowded mess of a community. This development will keep housing prices elevated. $$$$$. Yes!!

Posted by love it
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 7, 2017 at 6:19 pm

I like this development. I plan to sell or rent my house in about 5 years when my kids are all of to college. This can only provide more $$$$$

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2017 at 8:05 am

There is a lot to digest in this for us here in Palo Alto.

Two things strike me on the initial reading and tv coverage.

Firstly, if they do anything about re-opening the rail bridge, which I think is a good idea, it must be done as part of all other modes of public transportation and not as a new agency. It must coordinate with all other means of public transit with particular emphasis on transfers and first/last mile options. If it ends in Facebook Village, it will be a big shame.

Secondly, I hope that Menlo coordinates well with Palo Alto, Redwood City and even Mountain View and that these cities will coordinate with each other to ensure that the project is a smooth fit for the area not just MP.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 8, 2017 at 9:34 am

I am for more balanced planning than the travesty that is overdeveloped PA, Mtn Vw today, but I think this looks good on first blush, I like that they are planning for usable space. I even think this is one instance in which perhaps even more housing is appropriate. I would like to see the below market rate units have a requirement of giving priority to low incomw local workers, with costs tied to their income. Otherwise it just ends up being a giveaway to tech workers because low-income people can't afford the BMR units. I think this could really help improve that whole area. And look at it this way, if they use a lot of the allotment for that area, the development won't go somewhere less appropriate and less well-planned.

I am not seeing enough discussion of sidewalks and walkability. A good sidewalk is not an obstacle course, and allows two people to walk side by side and talk, even if one is in awheelchair. It doesn't require interruptions every second or so to avoid an unnecessary obstacle. It should allow for a pleasant walking experience, not just getting from a to b. It shoukd be integrated in a beautiful way so it's not just a strip of concrete. How does this plan fare from that perspective?

I would love to see them factor in rising water levels, though.

Posted by The Greatest Commuters
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 8, 2017 at 11:00 am

Thankfully the Willow Road road diet and the Middlefield Road "redo" were finished just in time for this project. Thankfully multi-year 101 and University "upgrades" will be happening while this is under construction.

Thankfully, we the residents will get to pay for all these comuters who's be competing for housing so they'll push the prices up for when we sell or rent! $$$$$$$$$

Isn't planning great!

Posted by Housing type?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 8, 2017 at 11:16 am

PA Daily Post says "1500 homes" and then "1500 apartments" is stated on p. 38 in the remainder of the article. I am worried sbout extreme traffic gridlock on/near 101 myself, but IF these will be "homes" as in single famiky homes for families, then wgere will all the chikdren in these families attend school? If it's only apartments one would be less concerned. Overall, the developments is jyst an excuse for the 1.75 million square feet of new office space.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2017 at 8:43 am

It seems that the rail bridge instead of being rail would become a pedestrian biking bridge, but it would be interesting to put pod cars on this bridge alongside the bikes and pedestrians. The pods could be programmable with several destinations at each end to either go to Facebook, Google, Caltrain, etc.

Some innovation could be worked along this idea and perhaps Silicon Valley can be ahead on infrastructure this time instead of lagging behind.

Posted by seems responsible
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 9, 2017 at 11:21 am

IMO Facebook and Google are being responsible by building thousands of apt units to house at least a portion of their employees. It would be helpful if Palantir similarly provided housing for their many employees.

Posted by Larry
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 9, 2017 at 12:50 pm

So lets parse the numbers to see if we understand the plan. Feel free to chime in if I get anything wrong. The article states:

"This project would be on top of the 1.8 million square feet of office space the company currently occupies in Menlo Park"


"A total of 9,350 Facebook employees work in Menlo Park"

So currently, each Facebook employee occupies about (1,800,000 / 9350) = 192.5 square feet of office space.

Again from the article, the new plan has

"1.75 million square feet of office space, spread across nine office buildings"

So assuming the new campus will have similar density to Facebook's existing facilities, the new plan will provide space for (1,750,000 / 192.5) = 9090 new employees.

For reference, this is approximately 27% of Menlo Park's 2016 estimated population of 33,888 (per Wikipedia).

The plan also has

"1,500 rental apartments"

This represents an office-to-housing ratio of (9090 / 1500) = 6.06 new employees per housing unit. Even if we assume the employees double up as roommates in every one of these new apartments, the project will still generate (9090 - (2 * 1500)) = 6090 new commuters who will have to find housing elsewhere.

So it seems that even if it includes apartments in an attempt to mitigate the housing shortage and mollify the critics, the project in fact makes the shortage *worse* by adding many, many more jobs than houses.

It seems clear that this project and others like it elsewhere (Google's San Jose project, for instance), are actually the *main cause* of our housing affordability problem. Until we get serious about the only truly sustainable development ratio of one new housing unit for each new employee, we can expect the housing shortage and consequent sky high housing costs to worsen.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2017 at 9:30 am

"the project will still generate (9090 - (2 * 1500)) = 6090 new commuters who will have to find housing elsewhere."

Fortunately there are also 7,000 homes in East Palo Alto.

Posted by Anke
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 10, 2017 at 3:43 pm

"Why would Mark Zuckerberg DO such an awful thing to an area he claims to LOVE?"

@NoNoNo I think unfortunately what Mark Zuckerberg loves about Palo Alto is that it enabled him to become a multibillionaire. Ironically, perhaps, if those jobs went to local people, then his village could actually be a nice addition to the community and the region. But instead, he'll be bringing in many times more newcomers than he is adding housing units.

Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2017 at 8:27 pm

A few stats that were omitted from the original article:

x 1,500 species of birds, fish, mammal and amphibians displaced or forced into extinction

x 1.75 million cubic feet of new pollution

x 225,000 additional monthly hours sitting in rush hour traffic

x 3,000 new H1-B visa allotments

x Seven development and tech titans that make a killing

Posted by Todd
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2017 at 8:36 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Zach
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 10, 2017 at 9:02 pm

"Willows Campus", how quaint. "Zuckerberg's perpetual traffic jam" will unfortunately, probably be more accurate.

Posted by cm
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 11, 2017 at 12:33 am

I'm glad to see that so many people here really get the reality of what is happening in the Bay Area. All of this mega-development is bad. Bad because more development drives up housing prices and drives out local people. This development, as pointed out above, doesn't begin to house all of the people that it will employ. Say good by to the low wage workers in EPA and the Willows area of Menlo Park. Gentrification is the name of the game. It is also bad for others who live here. Increasing our traffic, adding to air pollution and with the overcrowding destroying more quality of life factors since as open space, parks, schools and other infrastructure. Plus there is the destruction of the rest of the environment - lose of open space for what few birds and mammals we still have in this area. Use of scare water. And what about putting all of this development where rising sea levels will have businesses asking tax payers to build them walls in a few decades.

The people to blame however are elected government officials. They feed at the trough of development and don't know how to say NO!- go build it elsewhere and take your workers and crowds and traffic with you. We need to elect leaders who believe that California is full and that we need to draw boundaries around the human population. Smart dedicated no growth environmentalists need to run for office and smart voters need to elect them if we want to save this area.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2017 at 8:58 am

Oakland is having problems with almost finished residential tower blocks being destroyed by arsonists. There have been 3 or 4 according to news reports. There was apparently some graffiti a year or so ago threatening, if you build them, we will burn them.

It is sad that there are people who look on these developments as a threat to their homes and livelihood rather than an opportunity to better themselves and their lives. However saying that, repaving nature with concrete is something that has been done in this area since the days of the Ohlone.

I have nothing against nature preservation but nature always changes and adapts.

I do think the vast number of jobs have to be balanced with better infrastructure. I am not a fan of the idea of living in a tower block or having views of them, but this development is a lot better than some of the ideas being put forward by developers of late.

Posted by Nancy Lowe
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 11, 2017 at 10:52 am

Larry has it right:

"Until we get serious about the only truly sustainable development ratio of one new housing unit for each new employee, we can expect the housing shortage and consequent sky high housing costs to worsen."

There are already horrific traffic jams impacting the lives of commuters because there is not enough housing for the people who do work here, resulting in the little housing that is available being wildly unaffordable.

Yes, some of us will prosper as the houses we own will be worth much more at increased misery of the many.
But the quality of life in this area will drop even more precipitously.

To further increase the jobs/housing imbalance is absolutely unthinkable.....I can't believe it is even being considered!

Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 11, 2017 at 1:14 pm

The price of housing would not be so high if people thought this was an undesirable place to live.

Posters are as logical as Yogi Berra: Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded.

Remember, Facebook is growing now but think of all of jobs and companies that have disappeared in recent year. You can't just add new Facebook jobs to the total of existing jobs. Other companies are failing and moving out all the time.

Posted by So Annoyed
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Stupid. Just plain stupid.

Disregards other FB employees, residents of Menlo Park Palo Alto and probably RWC.

Zuck doesn't care if he, Apple, Google et al downgrade the quality of life from Cupertino to San Francisco.

Zuckerberg is living in his Ivory Tower which he seldom leaves; he hasn't a clue.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Addison School

on Sep 26, 2017 at 3:23 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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