Facebook's 'Willow Village' gets first public review | February 28, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - February 28, 2018

Facebook's 'Willow Village' gets first public review

by Kate Bradshaw

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 was 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 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 was held after the Almanac went to press. Go to almanacnews.com for the latest updates.

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.


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