| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Oct 3 The commute may be getting
a lot shorter for some of Facebook Inc's workers.
The online social networking company is investing in and
helping to design a 394-unit housing development, complete with
swimming pool, sports pub and a convenience store, that will be
built one and a half miles down the road from its headquarters.
The apartments will provide a convenient housing option for
some employees of Facebook, whose Menlo Park, California
headquarters is the home base for more than half of its 5,500
workers. The rental units will be marketed to Facebook employees
first, though anyone will be free to rent a unit.
The $120 million project is being undertaken by St. Anton
Partners, with Facebook providing an undisclosed investment.
Construction begins this month and is expected to be completed
in 24 months, St. Anton Partners said earlier this week.
The housing complex will also feature 53 units reserved for
low-income residents, and Facebook will subsidize the cost of 15
of those units, the company said.
For Internet companies, famous for creating workplaces with
free on-site restaurants, laundry service and volleyball courts,
the new development could mark another step in the constant race
to win over potential recruits with attractive perks and
Slides with artistic renderings of the future complex depict
a cluster of sleek, modern-looking buildings with expansive
glass windows and rooftop terraces. Sandwiched between the 101
freeway and salt marshes, the housing complex will include
everything from studio apartments to three-bedroom residences,
many with views of the San Francisco Bay, said Peter Geremia,
the co-owner of St. Anton Partners.
"One of the first things we did was have an all-hands
workshop at Facebook with a number of their employees and their
real estate staff," Geremia said. "We asked them what are some
of the key things you want in your living arrangement after
you're done working," he said.
In addition to recreational amenities such as gyms and
pools, Geremia said, Facebook employees wanted an easy way to
get to work without being stuck in traffic. Under a pending
proposal, a bike path that leads directly from the apartments to
Facebook's headquarters would be built.