• Menlo Park's housing market is currently priced as high luxury, and the market is swaying very far in the favor of sellers.
  • Facebook's new campus extension plan would include affordable housing units, a hotel space and more for employees and residents not affiliated with the company.
  • The campus plan includes contributions to initiatives such as the Dumbarton Corridor Study, Housing Inventory and Local Supply Study, Workforce Housing Program and the Housing Innovation Fund.
Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park/Facebook.com

Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park/Facebook.com

In communities surrounding the Bay Area, affordable housing is one big, hot-button topic.

High paying tech jobs are welcoming new residents to the area, but not everyone can afford to call it home anymore. Partly responsible for the surge in local economy and home prices, one of Silicon Valley’s major players is trying to make living there a little more attainable for a number of lucky residents.

Earlier this summer, Facebook announced plans for the construction on a 56-acre plot of land in Menlo Park just south of the company’s headquarters. The Prologis Campus will feature 1,500 units, and 15 percent — around 225 — of those will be affordable units for low- to middle-income residents.

Regardless of their affiliation to the social media giant, tenants will have access to the below-market rate units, Facebook says.

The plans for a new extension of the campus, which includes the residential spaces and two new office buildings totaling 962,400 square feet of space, is moving forward following the release of agreement terms July 14 by Menlo Park Mayor Richard Cline. And while Facebook will plan and design the units, it hasn’t yet extended its arm into the development world.

Expansion of the company’s headquarters could bring 6,500 new employees to the area, and with the housing market in Menlo Park as tight as it is already, the development is seemingly necessary.

The new development is also expected to house a 174,800 square foot hotel that will help fuel economic growth to the community. In line with the Menlo Park General Plan and the General Industrial zoning requirements, the development’s plans also include infrastructure improvements.

Agreements entail contributions to several community plans, studies and organizations, including the Dumbarton Corridor Study, Housing Inventory and Local Supply Study, Workforce Housing Program and the Housing Innovation Fund.

Lacking of affordability in Menlo Park

Making affordable units available in Menlo Park is a huge deal — the median housing value in the area is more than $2 million. According to Altos Research, the 90-day rolling average for the median housing value in Menlo Park as of August 19 was $2,693,462. In the past 12 months, this figure has barely grazed below the $2 million mark.

And buyers have little say in the market. Altos uses a metric called the Market Action Index to determine whether a market is swaying down in favor of buyers or up in favor of sellers, using 30 as the neutral value.

As of August 19, the Market Action Index was reported at 65.53, majorly in the hands of home sellers. This index has been continuously above the 50 mark for the past 12 months, pointing to a consistently strong seller’s market.

With inventory low — just 31 available properties in August — the increase in units, especially affordable ones, are increasingly important for residents.

Email Kimberly Manning

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