Facebook Town? Social Network Collaborating With Developer On Apartment Complex Near HQ

By David Cohen 

AntonMenloWe reported Tuesday that Facebook agreed to subsidize 15 units in an upscale apartment complex in Menlo Park, Calif., in order to satisfy its agreement with the city that allowed it to expand its headquarters, but it turns out that the 630,000 square-foot, 394-unit complex, named Anton Menlo, is aimed at Facebook employees, although units are open to all comers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Anton Menlo, which the social network is planning with developer St. Anton Partners, is seen as an extension of the company’s Menlo Park headquarters, with its location less than two miles away, and its amenities including:

  • Café.
  • Convenience store.
  • Sports bar.
  • Bicycle repair shop with onsite storage.
  • Pet spa with doggy day care, pet walking services, and a dog park.
  • “Resort-inspired” pool, spa, and cabana area.
  • Indoor/outdoor wellness, yoga, and training facility with personal training.
  • Rooftop entertainment deck with three-themed areas.

A Facebook spokeswoman downplayed Anton Menlo’s role in the company’s employee-retention efforts, telling the Journal:

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.

But Facebook Director of Real Estate John Tenanes, who is working with St. Anton Partners on planning the development, told the Journal:

The beauty of this thing is that it’s extremely close to our campus. It’s a five-minute bike ride (along a dedicated path that runs along the San Francisco Bay). You don’t even have to put on the brakes.

University of Toronto Professor of Entrepreneurship Ajay Agrawal weighed in on the “company town” concept, telling the Journal that current Silicon Valley employees do not feel tied to companies, but to the area and the industry, and they are more likely to switch companies and collaborate with people from other companies, and adding:

Silicon Valley is in many ways the antithesis of the company town. There may be some optimal level between the extreme company town and Silicon Valley, where everyone is moving companies.

Readers: If you worked for Facebook, would you be interested in living so close to its headquarters as a matter of convenience, or would you find the experience to be overbearing and prefer separation of work and non-work time?