Facebook proposed taking homebuilding into its own hands for first time

Vastavam web:  The shortage of housing in California’s Silicon Valley has gotten so severe that Facebook Inc (FB.O) on Friday proposed taking homebuilding into its own hands for the first time with a plan to construct 1,500 units near its headquarters.The growth of Facebook, Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) and other tech companies has strained neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay area that were not prepared for an influx of tens of thousands of workers during the past decade. Home prices and commute times have risen.

Those steps, though, have not reduced complaints that tech companies are making communities unaffordable, and they have mostly failed to address the area’s housing shortage.”The problem with Silicon Valley is you don’t have enough supply to keep up with the demand,” said Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at real estate research firm Core Logic.

With Facebook’s construction plan, the company said it wanted to invest in Menlo Park, the city some 45 miles (72 km) south of San Francisco where it moved in 2011.The 1,500 Facebook housing units would be open to anyone, not just employees, and 15 percent of them would be offered at below market rates, the company said. Facebook said it expects the review process to take two years. Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith said in an interview that there were concerns about whether the Facebook plan would increase traffic, a subject the city’s planning department would study.

She said, though, that Facebook’s plan fits with the city’s own long-term plan for development, and that the city was excited about the additional housing. Facebook’s Tenanes said the density of the proposed development could also entice spending on transit projects.