A rendering of Facebook's Anton Menlo housing development. (Image Source: Facebook/St. Anton Partners)
In the San Francisco Bay Area, a lot of tension has developed over housing. Tech workers from companies such as Google and Apple are kicking out local residents in San Francisco and paying over-the-top rents to live in tiny rooms, not only making the city more expensive to rent an apartment than even Manhattan, but making techies a source of anger and rage amongst the rest of the Bay Area. To make matters worse, many of these workers are bussed via fancy shuttles to their offices, often located closer to San Jose than San Francisco, even though they have more than enough money to get a home or an apartment closer to their office, giving off an air of privilege. Facebook, of all companies, is looking to change that around: The social network giant are now building housing near their Menlo Park headquarters with the purpose of housing their workers.
Working with a San Francisco developer, Facebook is building Anton Menlo, a 394-unit housing complex located near their headquarters. The intent of Anton Menlo is to allow Facebook workers to have a seamless transition from home to work, and back, carrying all the perks of working for Facebook to the home. Anton Menlo is intentionally designed to resemble the Facebook headquarters to add to that feel. Along with this design, Facebook is adding important techie amenities, such as a yoga studio and bike repair shop, to Anton Menlo.
Of course, the housing complex is not being built solely for techies: Only 15 of the 394 units are exclusively for Facebook workers. But that is a very good thing: By allowing everyone access to these apartments, it shows that Facebook does not want to turn Menlo Park into a "company town," and wants to actually integrate into the local community rather than be a place where people simply commute into work.
Now, Facebook's construction is not perfect: That Anton Menlo is meant to mirror the Facebook work experience at home will no doubt mess with the heads and psyches of many of the techies who work there. There is little room for growth for these techies: The majority of these apartments are one-bedroom, and there are very few multi-bedroom apartments to allow for families. Finally, the housing complex could probably house 500-600 workers at most, at a time when Facebook is hiring more than that on a yearly basis.
Still, the fact that Facebook is seeking to house their workers locally is a step in the right direction, for it will show that if you have the money, you can help everyone by housing everyone close to work, instead of letting your techie workers run over an entire city and get everyone who is not in tech angry at you. Hell, both Google and Apple have billions upon billions in cash reserves, far more than Facebook has. They could afford to build housing for all of their workers. Why don't they?