Public scrutiny launched for Facebook's 'Willow Village'


The doors are opening for the public to weigh in on Facebook's biggest Menlo Park development yet.

On Monday, Feb. 26, the proposed "Willow Village" development is scheduled to go before Menlo Park's Planning Commission for a study session, and Facebook has scheduled three open houses in March to answer questions from the public about its proposed project.

The company has expansive redevelopment plans for the 59-acre property it owns that runs on the south side of Willow Road about a quarter-mile west of Bayfront Expressway, bounded roughly by Mid Peninsula High School to the west, Willow Road to the north, the Dumbarton rail corridor to the east, and the UPS Center and Pacific Biosciences office (on O'Brien Drive and Adams Court) to the south. There are currently 20 buildings there; Facebook plans to demolish those and replace them with 3.45 million square feet of office, retail and residential space.

There are nine office buildings proposed - expected to total 1.75 million square feet - along with a 200-room hotel, seven public-access parks or plazas covering eight acres, 1,500 housing units, a visitors' center, a grocery store, pharmacy and other retail spaces.

To meet the city's zoning policies, 15 percent, or 225, of the housing units will be designated for below-market-rate rent. A staff report indicates that the units will range from one to four bedrooms.

In addition, the office buildings would be intentionally isolated from the public-facing areas, with interior courtyards. The proposed heights for the residential, mixed-use buildings are 61 to 72 feet and, for the office buildings, 74 to 112.5 feet. The proposed density and heights are greater than the baseline the city allows, so Facebook will be required to provide benefits to the community at a value of half of the fair market value of the additional gross floor area the city will permit it to add.

The company is proposing to phase the development such that only one-third of the total office project and housing are completed at a time.

According to a staff report, the Feb. 26 meeting is intended for planning staff to get input from the Planning Commission on the company's plans to realign some roads; the proposed bike and pedestrian paseo; density; phasing; and the master planning process for the site.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the Menlo Park City Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St.

In addition, Facebook officials will host their own public meetings in the coming weeks to provide information about the proposed development.

Scheduled meetings are:

● Saturday, March 3, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Menlo Park Senior Center, 110 Terminal Ave. in Menlo Park.

● Saturday, March 10, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the East Palo Alto Senior Center at 560 Bell St. in East Palo Alto.

● Thursday, March 22, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center at 700 Alma St. in Menlo Park.


19 people like this
Posted by Menlo resident
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 26, 2018 at 12:37 pm

I hope they consider the intense and growing pedestrian / bicycle traffic of Facebook employees crossing Willow. That’s already a problem (crosswalk blocking light cycles for turning vehicles). Existing crossing guards that are sometimes present protect the pedestrians, but don’t seem to care about blocking cars through several light cycles. This needs a tunnel or pedestrian overpass if Facebook wants to connect these parcels for bikes and pedestrians.

13 people like this
Posted by sie
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm

sie is a registered user.

@Menlo resident

I completely agree! The bicycle and pedestrian traffic at the intersection of Willow and Hamilton is making it impossible for those of us who live in that area to leave the neighborhood. It's been made much more difficult with the recent installation of a "no right on red" prohibition for turning from Hamilton onto Willow.

8 people like this
Posted by Ratio Rationality
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 27, 2018 at 7:48 am

Needs more housing- 1,500 units sounds like a lot, but it barely makes a dent in the demand from 1.75 million square feet of office!

Like this comment
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 27, 2018 at 11:40 am

If they're building something of this scale, adding a bicycle/pedestrian bridge is a trivial add on. I think a bit more than that will be needed; funding the proposed express bus "flyover" ramp, adding a reversible lane on the Dumbarton, and/or adding commuter rail service on the Dumbarton corridor is needed.

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Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 27, 2018 at 11:44 am

I believe - from what I've seen elsewhere - that the "red" rectangle on the image is imagined as an elevated rail station on the Dumbarton corridor. That probably would include a pedestrian overpass, if not a bicycle overpass.

1 person likes this
Posted by D
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 28, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Traffic is already a nightmare on Willow Rd. and this development will only exacerbate the problem

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

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