Facebook and Google are both moving into the creation of real-life communities, complete with houses for employees, parks, bridges, and even stores.
In Menlo Park, California, Facebook is planning a 59-acre site called Willow Village.
“There will be housing there,” declared Facebook’s Vice President for Real Estate, John Tenanes, while showing off a model of the community to the New York Times. “There will be a retail street along here, with a grocery store and a drugstore. That round building in the corner? Maybe a cultural center… We want to balance our growth with the community’s needs.”
The “village” is set to feature 1,500 apartments, 225 of which will be offered “at below-market rates,” while the “most likely tenants of the full-price units are Facebook employees, who already receive a five-figure bonus if they live near the office,” according to the Times, who added that in a decade, Facebook “will have space for 35,000” employees, which is “slightly more than the city’s current population.”
“The community will have eight acres of parks, plazas and bike-pedestrian paths open to the public. Facebook wants to revitalize the railway running alongside the property and will finish next year a pedestrian bridge over the expressway,” they reported. “The bridge will provide access to the trail that rings San Francisco Bay, a boon for birders and bikers.”
In their report, the New York Times noted that Google is also working on their own community just a “few miles” away.
“The search company plans a 600,000-square-foot office building with a roof that melts up into soft peaks, kind of like a meringue. It will have stores, cafes, gardens and even a space for theatrical performances, as well as a place for consumers to test-drive new Google technology,” the Times explained. “Google will build 5,000 homes on its property under an agreement brokered with Mountain View in December. Call it Alphabet City as a nod to Alphabet, Google’s corporate parent.”