Monday, July 10, 2017

Facebook’s Menlo Campus to Get 1,500 Modular Apartments

Facebook is building a brand new "village" packed with 1,500 modular apartments, a grocery store, a pharmacy, public parks and more for its employees as California's Silicon Valley continues to deal with severe housing shortage. The announcement comes more than two years after Facebook first moved into its 430,000sq ft headquarters designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry.

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Announced on Friday, the new "integrated, mixed-use village" called Willow Campus, will be located near Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park and will feature 1,500 housing units and 125,000sq ft of retail space in total.

The campus will include 1,500 housing units open to anyone — 15% of which will be offered at below market rates — as well as grocery stores, a pharmacy, public parks, a shopping centre, transportation services and other amenities.


Facebook said it has submitted plans to Menlo Park officials and expects the review process to last about two years.

One has to wonder if big Internet and Social Media companies aren’t simply revisiting the 1920-40’s when housing and grocery stores were provided by the company for less than the workers would pay further away just to keep the workers under the corporate ‘thumb.’  Will Starbucks, Target, and other Millennial favorites soon be added to the ‘campus’ so nobody has to leave the FB campus to go home.

The announcement comes as Silicon Valley companies have dramatically changed neighbourhoods and catapulted rent prices in the Bay Area with the influx of tens of thousands of employees in recent years, making housing unaffordable in the area.

To tackle the issue, companies have responded with various measures including incentives for employees who move closer to their offices, investing in modular homes for short-term employee housing and offering internet-equipped buses for employees with longer commutes.

Google has ordered their 300 apartment units from a “New to Building Modular” factory in the old Blu Homes facility. Marriott is on a modular hotel buying binge and hospitals and assisted living are about to jump headfirst into modular.

Where are all these modules going to be produced along with Facebook’s 1,500 apartments? Existing modular factories are about to hit maximum capacity and there doesn’t appear to be another 100 modular factories under construction. Even if they were to magically appear, where would they find the labor to work on the production lines.

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Finally modular construction, both residential and commercial is realizing its time has come, however there are some fundamental questions that need answered to meet this demand.

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