News

Facebook unveils plans for giant new development in Menlo Park

Company plans to build 3.45 million square feet of housing, office and retail space

This story has been updated and expanded.

Facebook, which hit two billion users June 27, has announced plans for a major new office, residential and retail development near its headquarters at Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway in Menlo Park.

The company submitted to the city Thursday plans to knock down existing buildings and construct 3.45 million square feet of office, residential and retail space at its 59-acre commercial property referred to as the Prologis site.

The property is on the south side of Willow Road, about a quarter mile west of Bayfront Expressway. The boundaries are Mid Peninsula High School on the west, Willow Road on the north, the Dumbarton rail corridor on the east, and the UPS Center and Pacific Biosciences office (on O'Brien Drive and Adams Court) on the south.

Facebook, which is calling the development "Willow Campus," would essentially create a new city district in eastern Menlo Park, providing housing, services for residents and workers, and office space for Facebook employees.

There would be nine office buildings, three parking garages, seven public access parks or plazas, 1,500 housing units, a visitors' center, a grocery store and other retail spaces.

In line with the city's recently updated general plan, maximum building heights would be capped at 70 feet for mixed-use residential buildings, 110 feet for office buildings and 110 feet for office parking structures. Each structure would be below the maximum, unless it is in the flood zone, according to Facebook spokesperson Jamil Walker.

Mr. Patterson said he expects it to take about two years for the project to be approved – it will have to go through an environmental impact analysis, he said – and another two years for the completion of the first phase of the project. That would put the projected completion of the first phase around early 2021, according to Mr. Tenanes.

This project would be on top of the 1.8 million square feet of office space the company currently occupies in Menlo Park, and the almost 1 million square feet of office space it's building in the city, plus the 207,000 square feet of office space it plans to occupy in the "Menlo Gateway" area off of Marsh Road.

Facebook did not have an estimate of how many employees would work at the site, but said it would be roughly the same ratio of employees to office space as at its other operations. A total of 9,350 Facebook employees work in Menlo Park, a 54 percent increase over last year, according to the city's budget for the fiscal year that started July 1.

Willow Campus plan

Highlights of the Willow Campus master plan submitted to the city include:

● 1,500 rental apartments, totaling about 1.6 million square feet. As required by the city, 15 percent (or 225 apartments) would be designated to be rented at below-market rates to lower-income tenants. Tenancy would be open to the public, and not restricted to Facebook employees.

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

● 125,000 square feet of retail space, about enough to have ground-floor shops on both sides of the street for three city blocks. Plans include a grocery store and pharmacy, according to John Tenanes, vice president of global facilities and real estate.

● 3,000 parking places in parking garages (the site currently has 2,300 spread out in parking lots).

● Seven parks or plazas that will be accessible to the public, plus a pedestrian path with tree-lined landscape and seating areas.

Early renderings indicate plans to reactivate the Dumbarton rail corridor from Redwood City to East Palo Alto. Pedestrian routes and bike paths connecting the site to neighboring areas of Menlo Park are also planned. Those plans could include a pedestrian and bike overcrossing of Willow Road to connect the new development to Belle Haven.

According to Ryan Patterson, real estate manager at Facebook, the project represents a 10-year plan for the site, and would be built in phases. The first phase would include a grocery store and some portion of the proposed retail, housing and office space.

The proposal also indicates potential for a hotel and a visitor or cultural center at the site.

Grocery store

One of the conditions of Menlo Park's recently approved general plan update is that developers may be required to provide amenities to the community in exchange for being allowed to build above a certain density.

Mr. Patterson said Facebook is "very committed" to including a grocery store in the proposed retail space.

"That was one of the asks from the community that came up very, very early – almost at the outset of the general plan process," he said. "We view it as a community benefit, but we aren't going to wait to have that asked of us by the city."

Dumbarton corridor

Reactivating the Dumbarton rail corridor in some way is a key part of the plans for the development, according to Facebook officials. While the corridor is controlled by SamTrans, Facebook has already put $1 million toward a study by the transportation agency to look at best short- and long-term courses of action to deal with congestion along the Dumbarton corridor.

In a previous development agreement, Facebook committed an additional $1 million toward implementing the findings of the study, which is expected to be completed in the late summer or early fall, Mr. Patterson said.

Facebook, he said, is "very committed" to reactivating the rail corridor. "It's in our backyard," he said. "And with 101 and other regional connectors being very congested, it just makes sense to find ways to utilize some of our existing resources that run right through the community."

The hope is that adding more density along the existing rail corridor will be a catalyst in increasing demand to justify reactivating the rail corridor, whether that's via light rail, bus rapid transit, a bike and pedestrian path, or something else SamTrans recommends, he said.

General plan

Facebook's proposal represents the first large-scale development to be proposed in the M-2 area (Menlo Park's formerly light industrial area, bounded roughly by the San Francisco Bay, University Avenue, U.S. 101 and Marsh Road) since the city's general plan update was approved in November.

The purpose was to plan for development in the area up to the year 2040, but the proposal would take up a large chunk of the newly allowed 2.3 million square feet of non-residential space that the city zoned for, proposed less than a year since the adoption of the updated general plan.

Facebook in Menlo Park

Facebook has been expanding its land holdings, office space, and workforce in Menlo Park at a breakneck rate. The company currently owns 194 acres in eastern Menlo Park, counting 57 acres at the former Sun Microsystems location, 22 acres between Willow Road and Constitution Drive along Bayfront Expressway (where its Building 20 is located), 59 acres at the nearby former TE Connectivity site, and 56 acres at the Prologis Inc. site.

On those properties, the company currently occupies at least 1.8 million square feet of office space, not counting its Buildings 21 and 22, which are under construction and nearing the final approval steps, respectively. Those two buildings will add almost a million square feet of office space, when completed. The company also plans to build a 200-room hotel.

In addition, Facebook officials have confirmed the company plans to lease the first office building to be built by Bohannon Companies as part of the "Menlo Gateway" project, adding 207,000 square feet to its office space. No plans have been finalized for Facebook to lease future "Menlo Gateway" buildings, Mr. Walker confirmed.

This proposal represents the company's first foray into housing development. The apartments are planned to be open for rental by the public, though Mr. Patterson noted that for the purposes of reducing traffic, "I think our hope would be that folks who work locally, not just at Facebook, but at other companies locally, would live in the housing."

Watch a video produced by Facebook to see the company's proposal in further detail.

Email Kate Bradshaw at kbradshaw@almanacnews.com with your thoughts on the proposal.

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Comments

37 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 7, 2017 at 11:30 am

Enough is enough! Say no to Facebook. Menlo Park for Menlo Parkonians!


37 people like this
Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 7, 2017 at 11:43 am

I understand that Facebook is considering buying all of Menlo Park (as a complete package) and changing the name from Menlo Park to Facebook Village. Vibrant vitality will be their goal.

The Dumbarton Rail Corridor is a kind of constantly recurring joke. First of all, it doesn't exist. Much of it is missing. The Bay bottom foundations were found not to be seismically sound. The Coast Guard wants to tear the whole thing apart and remove it. Rebuilding a two-rail bridge crossing will cost billions.

But, it's Facebook, isn't it?


43 people like this
Posted by Enuff
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 7, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Disastrous. Of course this City Council will approve it. They rubber stamp everything Facebook wants.

This is the end of our little gem of a suburb. Why didn't FB settle in San Jose instead of remaking Menlo Park into its high-density office park?


39 people like this
Posted by Mark D.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 7, 2017 at 1:05 pm

Mark D. is a registered user.

1.6 million square feet of new housing but no mention of schools? And, yes, families have proven more than willing to move into small rental units on the peninsula, so let's not hear the just-empty-nester-and-single-young-professional nonsense where this housing is concerned. Perhaps Facebook should set aside 5-6 acres on this property for a new school?


32 people like this
Posted by George Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 7, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Interesting lead sentence in the Mercury News article: "Aiming to address long-neglected community needs and to accommodate its burgeoning workforce, Facebook has proposed a vast expansion of its Menlo Park campus."

Sad when new private developers need to "address long-neglected community needs".


20 people like this
Posted by Gateway Precedent
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jul 7, 2017 at 1:40 pm

The General Plan was not approved by the Planning Commission. It also was not unanimously passed by the City Council. It was approved 4-1 with Cline, Keith, Ohtaki and Carlton voting yes.

Will this project be approved by the same City Council that ignored the Planning Commission's lack of approval or will it be put to a City wide vote like the Bohannon Gateway Project which was much much smaller.


6 people like this
Posted by careful what you ask for
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Dear @Gateway_Precedent, the Planning Commission did not vote against it, there was no approval mainly because so many people were recused, Drew Combs, the Planning Commission Chair, works for Facebook. You can watch the meeting video, the one council member that opposed really did nothing to rally any votes from additional council members. That one vote against the General Plan Update was simply a protest vote.

Be careful what you ask for, putting growth initiatives on the ballot has not worked out for your group. 2014's Measure M lost by over two thirds of the vote and 2010's Menlo Gateway Project won by other two thirds of the vote. The voters


55 people like this
Posted by Build the Infrastructure
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jul 7, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Someone needs to speak to these folks in their own language. If Facebook's 1.94 billion monthly users only had 100 servers to reach the site, would they be able to survive? So how can their physical presence grow to this extent with just three service roads?

It's generally good news when a large tax-paying employer does well. But FB's lead designer, Shohei Shigematsu of OMA New York, needs to get out of his office more often. Or maybe he could make friends with a civil engineer. Unless he leaves home right now, he won't arrive in time to cut the ribbon or stroll through his lovely parks, garages, apartments and stores because he won't be able to get off 101 or over the Dumbarton Bridge. He'll have to FaceTime from the Willow Road Exit.

Convert the defunct railroad bridge in Redwood City FIRST, before these plans are approved by the City of Menlo Park. Let's see if that can even alleviate the current impossible gridlock, let alone more traffic. In the meantime I suggest a blue sky session for additional creative solutions because that's what it's going to take to drive east of El Camino once Facebook builds out. Maybe they could have multiple landing pads and a fleet of white commuter helicopters so employees, visitors and residents can fly in from parking lots out by I-280. Or, they could build a dock over the wetlands so the Golden Gate Ferry can relieve some of the mess.

The issue isn't about land use -- it's about access. Sometimes you just can't do what you want because you can't get there from here. Willow Road and Marsh Road were built in the days when we had 14,000 households located in the area. Is Facebook going to cosy up to San Mateo County so they'll use eminent domain to take the land necessary to create six or eight lanes? What good is a campus or even a parking garage if no one can reach it?







8 people like this
Posted by Gateway Precedent
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jul 7, 2017 at 2:31 pm

@Careful - more than half of the Planning Commission voted on whether to approve the General Plan. It was not approved.
I remember planning commissioners writing in the Almanac that the City Council shouldn't approve the General Plan.



10 people like this
Posted by 70s gal
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Just wondering if maybe there might be a Trump Plaza or Trump hotel in the middle of all this? Wouldn't that just be the icing on this disaster cake. So, so, so, so sad.


4 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm

1500 housing units is NOT enough. I hope this is rejected unless housing and other community benefits are doubled or tripled.


2 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 7, 2017 at 4:57 pm

"If you build it, he will come."

Hey Mark Z, who's coming?

Apologies to Field of Dreams.


8 people like this
Posted by In the news
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 7, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Kirsten Keith has started speaking to the press now:

"“I am excited about the amenities as well for all of our residents,” said Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith.

Keith said her main concern with the proposed plan is increased traffic in an already congested area. “Eighty percent of the traffic on Willow Road is cut through traffic so if we can build more housing that going to help with traffic and transportation issues," she said."

"Facebook Town: Social Media Giant Announces Mixed-Use Housing Near Menlo Park HQ"
Web Link


"Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith said in an interview that there were concerns about whether the Facebook plan would increase traffic, a subject the city's planning department would study.

She said, though, that Facebook's plan fits with the city's own long-term plan for development, and that the city was excited about the additional housing."

Web Link


The EIR review hasn't begun yet but Mayor Kirsten Keith is already "excited".


9 people like this
Posted by JBCHAM
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 7, 2017 at 6:49 pm

What about other services such as police and fire. Has the Fire District had a chance to weigh in and comment on this development?


3 people like this
Posted by careful what you ask for
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 7, 2017 at 8:55 pm

@Gateway_Precedent writes, "more than half of the Planning Commission voted... planning commissioners writing in the Almanac that the City Council..."

Exactly, more than half is 4 people, it sounds like 2 voters for it and 2 voted against. That is not a compelling statement when the planning commission should have 7 votes. I remember when the entire bike commission, transportation commission and planning commission voted unanimously for a bike lanes trial on El Camino. We still have no bike lanes on El Camino, so even the most popular ideas can fall apart when it's time for the final council discussion and vote.


8 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 7, 2017 at 9:13 pm

Perhaps folks on the council or planning commission should recuse themselves if they or a family member have a Facebook account or any job or work connected to FB.


22 people like this
Posted by Belle Haven School
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 7, 2017 at 10:04 pm

Belle Haven School is a registered user.

With driverless cars, and other ways of controlling traffic, such as coordinating signals, and yes since we are becoming the tech hub of the world is there a way to come up with people movers, above ground, below ground, an above ground light rail, With all the tech genius and FB money there has to be a way to be creative and efficient. Example moving people around and through SFO.

My concern is no one is talking about the existing Belle Haven School. The campus is so dicrepid it failed in every part of a study done a couple of years ago,
Old past useful life trailers, Plumbing and Electric service Dangerous and outdated, No ADA compliance, Roofs leaking,

All original buildings way past useful life. How can the city approve multi billion dollar developments and not require a school serving Belle Haven for a few million dollars to be replaced or brought up to todays standards. It's hard to learn when you roof leaks and the heaters don't work in the winter. These kids could be the engineers of the future for FB but you can't learn when you cold and hungry. So while it's nice to have public plazas, it would be nice to have bathrooms with flush toliets.

I know the school is owned by Ravenswood School District which is broke and has the same problems, maybe FB could fix up Belle Haven leaving Ravenswood additional funds to fix up the rest of their schools.

Can we hear from the city manager, FB and the council members please?


23 people like this
Posted by The only way to Refuse this
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 7, 2017 at 11:32 pm

I stopped using Facebook years ago, and had my account completely deleted. If you deactivate your Facebook account, Facebook still treats you like a member and constantly keeps track of you on whatever website you may visit (and then sends it to the many marketers).

Facebook has done more harm to people than good: People have made fake businesses through Facebook; Stalkers have become more prevalent, and the platform encourages data sharing of all kinds regardless of social rules. When Mark Zuckerberg's wife had a miscarriage, he wanted everyone to know it - and for everyone to then share their stories of miscarriage and getting pregnant on Facebook. It's no wonder that he may soon want to know when women are throwing away their tampons, or when children first have a fever, or when someone goes through a lawsuit, or when someone's husband or wife dies. Zuckerberg keeps stating that "we" must no longer be private. He loves weilding the Chinese as a publicity stunt, and hangs out with many politicians to constantly advertise how Facebook, and his other purchased companies will change the world.

After the first six months from Facebook, it will hit you- how you could have been living your life, instead of writing about it and sharing it with random strangers, or friends- who in turn will secretly or publicly send your information to other people.

Facebook has not transformed East Palo Alto as Zuckerberg promised. If Facebook is to grow ethically- it needs to be called "Zuckerberg" and it needs to get rid of its sketchy web platform.


5 people like this
Posted by Belle Haven School
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 8, 2017 at 12:29 am

Belle Haven School is a registered user.

This includes a short video of the scale and timing of what's going in.

Web Link

Again no mention of the school as if it doesn't exist.


30 people like this
Posted by Kate Kennedy
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 8, 2017 at 10:42 am

So Facebook continues its ever-increasing takeover of East Menlo Park (soon to be known as Facebook Office Park), while our city leaders once again kick the intractable issues of congestion and traffic gridlock down the road.

As this article mentions, Facebook's expansion, if it proceeds as planned, will gobble up the lion's share of the development allowed by the General Plan. What happens when the limits are reached? Will no one but Facebook be allowed to build in Menlo Park? Are we to hand over the entirety of our city, present and future, to Facebook? This company won't last forever, as shocking as that might seem, and when it goes through an inevitable downsizing or restructuring, what happens then? Will Menlo Park be stuck with acre after acre of ghost office buildings and ghost "villages"?

As a resident of the east side, I see every day the traffic impacts of this burgeoning development, and every time I get on the freeway at Marsh Road I'm shocked at that eyesore of an office building that's going up literally right next the freeway. When will it end? When will our city leaders start looking out for the interests of the residents who live, pay taxes, and raise families in this town, rather than endlessly kowtowing to the desires of a single corporate entity?

Lastly, as others have mentioned here, Facebook and our city leaders need to wake up to the fact that if all these housing units are to be added to Menlo Park, services ~ school, fire, police ~ MUST be baked in to the plans.

It's so sad to see the town where we've raised our family and been so involved in the community become utterly transformed, with so little thought given to the consequences of this unprecedented rate of development. But these plans will surely go forward, just as all the other plans have. The Menlo Park I know and love is on the way out; all that remains is to see what will take its place.


5 people like this
Posted by Agreed
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 8, 2017 at 2:17 pm

The EIR for this project will take over a year, then there will be years of planning and construction. With so much of Menlo Park's future tied to Facebook development, we need a fully functional and objective planning commission. The current planning commission chair, Drew Combs, works for FaceBook. Combs was nominated for that commission by Keith, no surprise there. At a very minimum, Combs should not apply for reappointment to the planning commission.


Like this comment
Posted by Agreed
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 8, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Combs has already promissed to oppose the Measure M group.

"Mr. Combs is a man of intelligence and fresh perspectives... Although Measure M supporters say he could be relied on to work toward changes to the specific plan, he told the Almanac that if Measure M fails, he would regard that as the will of the people and an indication of their support for the specific plan. Therefore, he said, he wouldn't advocate changing the plan to meet Measure M objectives if the measure were defeated." - Almanac Editorial Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Gateway Precedent
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 8, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Drew Combs has been a valuable and respected member of the Planning Commission. His was voted Chair of the Planning Commission this year. He cannot vote on the Facebook project and has continually recused himself regarding matters involving Facebook.


4 people like this
Posted by Conflicted
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

@Gateway_Precedent, Combs may have accolades from anonymous posters like you, but we trust the Almanac's assessment. If Combs is recused on the important issues, another person should be appointed. If only 4 commissioners can vote, as you highlighted, council needs to clean house.

If Combs makes another run for council, he's starting from the deficit of turning his back on all his supporters, as the Almanac reported, and he is conflicted because he works for Facebook. Kristin Duriseti was a stunning candidate in 2014, but her conflict with Stanford quarenteed she'd be in last place.


Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 8, 2017 at 9:00 pm

While the strategy of cleaning house of potential challenger planning commissioners and the prospects of success for former city council candidates may be interesting for those in power the rest of us see it as an obvious and insulting diversion.


2 people like this
Posted by Conflicted
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 9, 2017 at 12:13 am

Having served on a city commission shows a candidate has a commitment to public service, and can be somewhat of an endorsement from the council making the appointment. If commissioners can't vote on important issues, that's a problem. There has not been a penalty from the voters for a candidate only serving one term. Only one of the current council members ever served on the planning commission or served more that one term on any city commission.

Prospects of former candidates can be evaluated by looking at recent election results. In Menlo Park, when a candidate loses an election and then runs again, they lose the next time: Fergusson (2012, 2014), Stein (1998, 2002), Sewell (1988, 1990) and Westlund (1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1998). Some people think candidates get name recognition by appearing on the ballot, but Westlund ran and lost 6 times.


21 people like this
Posted by Mike Morris
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 9, 2017 at 6:46 am

I live near Marsh road. Redwood City unincorporated San Mateo county. Facebook is a giant cancer growing out of control. The true mission of Menlo Park, Redwood City and San Mateo county gov, is to increase taxes and fees and increase the profits of developers and big companies and schools like Stanford Redwood City campus. Facebook appears to pay off and bribe, city officials property owners, chruch and other groups, in the area. When will it stop? We don't need Facebook. The plan will bring to much traffic, noise and dirty air. it will lower the quality of life for the residents. Facebook wants to bring thousands of cars and employees and justifies, it by saying we want a train, from the east bay to Facebook or a train from the Redwood City starting to Facebook. We don't want a train,. We don't want Facebook.


17 people like this
Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 9, 2017 at 1:07 pm

The post above from Mike Morris truly encapsulates what Facebook and other unrestricted growth is doing to Menlo Park. The present inept City Council has no respect for the "quality of life" for the residents of the city.

The only way this is going to be changed is an uprising of the residents --- a recall of the Menlo Park City Council, a new City Manager and replacement of those on the Planning Commission.

I really don't expect this to happen, but this is the only possible cure.


8 people like this
Posted by amenities
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm

Mike Morris writes, "Facebook appears to pay off and bribe city officials, property owners, chruch and other groups..." What Mike describes is a crime, so he should contact the DA. If this is simply conjecture, then we'll look for more of this in the 2018 election cycle.

The group that successfully derailed the Derry Project in 2006 has suffered a series of devastating blows ever since. Looking back, nobody remembers how dense it was or how much housing was in the Derry Project, but we've lived through a decade of blight on ECR. A solid majority of Menlo Park residents want progress and a vibrant downtown. Belle Haven residents have been asking for the public amenities (grocery store, pharmacy and parks) that Facebook proposed. Those amenities are in the Facebook proposal because of the General Plan Update.


2 people like this
Posted by amenities
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 9, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Mike Morris also writes, "The true mission of Menlo Park... is to increase taxes and fees..."

Years ago, Menlo Park voters approved a User Utility Tax of up to 5%. The current Menlo Park City Council has consistently voted, year after year, to reduce the UUT to 1%. Menlo Park voters did recently approve an increase to hotel taxes, but those taxes don't affect residents.


16 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 10, 2017 at 8:49 am

The mitigation for all of this must be that the project can't be built without the Dumbarton rail link. We've monkeyed around long enough. Set the bar higher and don't put up with yet another 'study.'


17 people like this
Posted by Sham General Plan
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 10, 2017 at 9:27 am

Now we can see that the General Plan update process was a sham and waste of millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of community members' invested time. Just adopted and supposedly lasting until 2040, the zoning and environmental impact studies assumed the 56-acre site could contain 5,600 housing units and 609,840 sq ft of non-residential development.

Now we have a proposal for more than 3 times the amount of non-housing development, and about 1/4 the housing units that could be on the site. That is a recipe for thousands more commuters, more demand for housing and more displacement of current residents. No wonder a new environmental study is required.

The real issue is how the ConnectMenlo process lost all its integrity so quickly, and whether the City Council will decide that a Belle Haven grocery store and pharmacy are an adequate exchange for all the additional (amazingly) unanticipated impacts this Facebook Village will impose on our entire community.

Facebook should do far better than this as a good neighbor in Menlo Park.


7 people like this
Posted by reverse commute
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 10, 2017 at 12:19 pm

As we all know, traffic is far worse in the afternoon. This is because the bulk of Dumbarton corridor traffic is coming from the East Bay in the morning, but headed the opposite direction in the evening, which backs up Marsh, Willow and University. The daily traffic jam on Northbound 101 in the evening is due to San Mateo Bridge traffic backing up to 101.

If new Facebook employees drive from the East Bay in the morning, they will exit the freeway before impacting any of the local feeder roads. If new Facebook employees commute from the North Peninsula, they are driving a reverse commute, against the bulk of traffic coming West from the Dumbarton bridge. These workers will eventually have the option of taking a commuter train from Redwood City Caltrain Station.


4 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 10, 2017 at 1:55 pm

@reverse commute: "If new Facebook employees drive from the East Bay in the morning, they will exit the freeway before impacting any of the local feeder roads."

Ah, they add to the back-up on Dumbarton Bridge - not that it impacts me. I sometimes drive Dumbarton Bridge in the morning - eastbound - and it's clear for me, but pretty awful for people coming in. Facebook is some percentage of that, and - without something to mitigate traffic from that direction - it would only get worse.

Your point about commuter rail helping north peninsula traffic rings true.


10 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jul 10, 2017 at 2:07 pm

"If new Facebook employees commute from the North Peninsula, they are driving a reverse commute, against the bulk of traffic coming West from the Dumbarton bridge. These workers will eventually have the option of taking a commuter train from Redwood City Caltrain Station."

"Your point about commuter rail helping north peninsula traffic rings true."

Well...yes...but...

The MTC intentionally defunded the Dumbarton Rail project, despite the fact Dumbarton Rail was listed as one of the projects targeted as part of Regional Measure 2, back in the early 2000's (2004?).

We are already paying for Dumbarton Rail. We just don't have it.

(and yes, dumbarton rail does hook up the the caltrain right-of-way. So yes, people from the north peninsula could definitely take caltrain straight to Facebook and the east bay if the Dumbarton Bridge was rebuilt. I'm pretty sure the same applies to south-bay, too).


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 10, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I would rather depend on Facebook's management skills, ability to act quickly, financial resource and commitment to the community to do good things in eastern Menlo Park than I would on the City.

Look at how the City ignored the need for new facilities for police and fire when it rezoned M2 and how quickly Facebook has stepped in to address these issues.


2 people like this
Posted by East Side
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 10, 2017 at 5:58 pm

@sham - if the project doesn't match what's allowed in the General Plan and requires an EIR why is Mayor Keith quoted in multiple articles saying the project matches the City's long term plan for development?


2 people like this
Posted by reverse commute
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 10, 2017 at 5:59 pm

@peninsula_resident wtites, "The MTC intentionally defunded the Dumbarton Rail project..."

Peninsula residents should identify the local elected officials on the MTC and educate them about out congestion problems.

Thankfully, Warren Slocum makes a case for Dumbarton Rail: Web Link



2 people like this
Posted by East Side
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 10, 2017 at 8:42 pm

@sham you seem to know about city rules. how is it possible Mayor Keith could say the project matches the City's long term plan for development if the project was just given to the city and an eir needs to be done?


5 people like this
Posted by Sham General Plan
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 12, 2017 at 11:47 am

@East Side "how is it possible Mayor Keith could say the project matches the City's long term plan for development"

It is this article that says an EIR is required and she thinks it fits the general plan. You should ask her how it fits.


6 people like this
Posted by pdj
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 13, 2017 at 9:45 pm

pdj is a registered user.

It is amazing that now so many West of 101 residents are concerned about traffic that has been reported a problem for over a decade by the residents most affected by the M2 development.

While obsessing over the Facebook announcement, an eight story mixed use building is being presented to the MP Planning Commission on Monday 7/17.

G1. Study Session/Jason Chang/1075 O'Brien Drive:
Request for a study session for the demolition of an existing single-story warehouse and manufacturing building and construction of a new eight-story mixed-use building with three levels of structured parking above grade, four floors of offices, a restaurant, café with outdoor seating, and rooftop garden in the LS-B (Life Sciences, Bonus) zoning district. The proposal also includes a request for a new chemical storage bunker on the east side of the existing building at 20 Kelly
Court. The parcels at 20 Kelly Court and 1075 O’Brien Drive would also be merged. Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Eight Stories
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 14, 2017 at 11:50 am

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016 12:47 PM, Catherine Carlton <carlton4menlopark@gmail.com> wrote:

I am having an election fund-raiser this Sunday afternoon, and am writing to extend you an invitation. It's on a beautiful rooftop deck, and will include a selection of fun beers and local wines. I hope that you are free to join us!

Please see the attached flyer for details.

All the best,

Catherine


26 people like this
Posted by Dagwood
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 14, 2017 at 1:27 pm

See the Palo Alto Weekly's editorial:
The message to property owners, including Facebook, should be that housing development must far outpace and precede any new commercial development, and it must itself be preceded by transportation initiatives that reduce current traffic congestion and increase transit options.

Menlo Park needs to recognize the fallacy of land-use policies that encourage more office development and a worsening of our regional housing and transportation problems. Otherwise everyone except the developers loses in the long run.


19 people like this
Posted by Blame the right source
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Facebook proposes to add 10,000 more jobs and only 1500 apartments. If we're lucky, those 1500 will house 2000-3000 people. But wait, what about the 10,000 jobs they added in the last year? Where are those employees living? They are driving up the cost of housing for everyone (as are other huge employers).

Is this the fault of the tech companies? No. This is poor land use planning by the town and county government. With jobs must come an equal amount of housing. There is no other way, or we'll be paying 10 grand for an apt soon. We're well on our way.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 17, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" This is poor land use planning by the town and county government."

Precisely!!


20 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jul 17, 2017 at 7:43 pm

'" This is poor land use planning by the town and county government."

Precisely!!'

Agreed.

I am one of the hated, much reviled landlords on the peninsula, and even I recognize the idiocy of overbuilding for business without building out housing in some semblance of reasonable proportion.

(and without significant increases in public transportation, no less!!!!)

Once it's clear that the cities & towns neglected their duties on good land use, will the towns, cities and businesses take the brunt of the consequences? Of COURSE not; they'll take the easy way out: blame the landlords for high rents, convince the public, then pass (illegal) laws on rent control that act as de facto property seizure.


21 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 17, 2017 at 7:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As a former Palo Alto Planning Commissioner and a current Fire Board Director (but posting here as a private citizen and NOT on behalf of the Fire Board) here are some clues to poor city planning:
1 - No provision for additional schools
2 - No provision for additional libraries
3 - No provision for additional police stations
4 - No provision for additional fire stations.


9 people like this
Posted by Heartbroken
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 18, 2017 at 1:52 am

This is disastrous for our community and will negatively impact the quality of life in our area as we know it. Facebook does little but lip service to support the community. They have caused displacement of long time residents, contributed to homelessness and made it impossible for teachers, firefighters and service workers to live here. The housing units proposed don't even begin negate the major impact and displacement Facebook has caused. Diane Bailey the community representative says good for the environment? Please explain what environment you are referencing? Clearly not the people living in East MP, EPA or BelleHaven.


22 people like this
Posted by Blame the right source
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2017 at 4:51 pm

To borrow from the above and add:

1 - No provision for additional schools
2 - No provision for additional libraries
3 - No provision for additional police stations
4 - No provision for additional fire stations.
5 - No guarantee for additional transportation
6 - Not enough senior, affordable or middle class housing
7 - Not enough housing for the recent and future 20,000 hires
8 - Not enough traffic mitigation plans for the region
9 - No housing for families (3 and 4 bedrooms)
10 - No sports fields for community use

etc, etc,
They may be targeting young adults without families, but we all know what happens to young adults after a couple years! They procreate! Can't fight nature.


2 people like this
Posted by Lagniappe N.
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 18, 2017 at 7:50 pm

The fire district gets a ton of money from increased property taxes, and the schools get a boatload from property taxes AND impact fees. If board members can't figure out how to spend that money responsibly, maybe they should stop posting on message boards and get their own house in order. Peter Carpenter is a thoroughly disappointing public official who always blames other people for his situation. How about you take some responsibility, Peter?


8 people like this
Posted by Great P.A. Editorial
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jul 18, 2017 at 8:42 pm

The Palo Alto Weekly editorial got it right. Too bad this wasn't an editorial in the Almanac so MP residents would see it. These massive office developments impact the region and neighbor Palo Alto will also feel the pain.

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2017 at 10:10 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

" and neighbor Palo Alto will also feel the pain."

You mean the same way MP feels the pain from the unrelenting development at Stanford that PA keeps approving? You mean like that?


2 people like this
Posted by on the edge
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2017 at 10:13 pm

Palo Alto has 4 or 5 downtown parking structures, and is looking to build 2 more. The additional car trips will dump more cars on Willow and University. Downtown Menlo Park has no parking structures. On El Camino in Menlo Park, we've had a decade of vacant lots waiting to be developed.

The Facebook Campus is on the edge of Menlo Park, right next to a freeway bridge and has an unused rail right-of-way that could be restored to provide rail service to the Redwood City Caltrain station.


11 people like this
Posted by Eight Stories
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 19, 2017 at 12:43 am

"Menlo Park city officials, including Mayor Kirsten Keith, who express delight at Facebook's proposal and explain this is just what the city had in mind when it approved its new general plan last year, do a disservice to their constituents and to the region."

- Palo Alto Weekly Editorial


1 person likes this
Posted by good governance
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2017 at 10:56 am

In the Weekly Editor's opinion, city officials should not explain how the project fits into the new general plan. Whatever your view of the general plan or this proposal, city officials not explaining city policies or expressing their opinions is absurd and the opposite of good governance.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter F Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2017 at 11:40 am

Lagniappe - you seem to live in the Fire District so you get to vote for your Fire Board and you are always welcome to attend a Board meeting to provide public input.

I think that you will find the District to be well managed with adequate reserves. What the District does not have is land designated by the City, which the District would gladly pay for, to build another fire station in the M2 area.


1 person likes this
Posted by higher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 19, 2017 at 1:53 pm

We can clean out the MP council in 2018... before the EIR's are complete.


5 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm

We really need to have representation from Belle Haven on the MP City Council. The City is basically ceding that neighborhood over to FB. In a town that could use with higher housing density from Sharon Heights to the Bay, most of the new housing density will be in Belle Haven...where it won't disrupt the property values for those of us in West MP, Downtown, Linfield Oaks, the Willows, and Suburban Park. This, of course, is reinforced by our ridiculous school district boundaries that reinforce our community's segregation. Note that the plan is all around more office space and small housing units. Nothing about working more to bring Ravenswood schools up to the level of MPCSD schools. 1500 rental units...we need the housing, but how can we add that many housing units without funding expansion of public services (police, fire, libraries, rec center, better schools)?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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