Located in Menlo Park, CA, Facebook’s headquarters epitomize the quintessential work environment that everyone dreams of. The sprawling grounds come complete with the latest perks, as to attract the top talent in the tech industry. USA Today even went as far as calling Facebook’s headquarters a “Silicon Disneyland.”
Employees are awarded the opportunity to take advantage of free meals, laundry services, haircuts, lucrative stock options and competitive salaries. The posh environment may facilitate heightened work morale and prevent employees from ever wanting to leave. However, a recent real estate push may provide employees with that option. Facebook plans to enter into the real estate industry.
The social media giant said this week it is working with a local developer to build a $120 million, 394-unit housing community within walking distance of its offices. Called Anton Menlo, the 630,000 square-foot rental property will include everything from a sports bar to a doggy day care.
The recent expansion into real estate isn’t all that uncommon in the Silicon Valley region, as companies are constantly competing to lure coveted engineers to their premises. However, even for that area, Facebook’s proposed Anton Menlo may propel expectations to a whole new level.
A Facebook spokeswoman said employee retention wasn’t a major factor in the real estate push. “We’re certainly excited to have more housing options closer to campus, but we believe that people work at Facebook because what they do is rewarding and they believe in our mission,” she said.
The proposed Anton Menlo facility may be attributed to a lack of housing near Facebook headquarters. There is a distinct lack of housing in Menlo Park and prices continue to surge upwards. Silicon Valley and neighboring San Francisco experienced price increases as high as 24% in the fourth quarter of 2012. This particular region is currently one of the least affordable housing markets to live in.
While the proposed facility is only capable of housing approximately 10% of Facebook’s employees, the plan speaks volumes about how competition is reshaping corporate culture and the housing sector in certain regions.
The projected site of the Anton Menlo facility will likely boost the prospects of any nearby housing developments and businesses. The company plans to reserve only 15 units specifically for Facebook employees. Facebook will also set aside some units for low-income residents and the remainder will go for market rates.
The implications of this move could be extremely positive for those already involved in the real estate industry. It adds diversity and additional income streams. It also offers passive wealth building opportunities that have the potential to become one of the most valuable parts of the company. It may also serve as an alternative exit strategy for when the tech bubble bursts.