Facebook is building a data centre in Gallatin, northeast of Nashville that is estimated to cost the company US$800 million and will take up to three years to build and cover nearly 1 million square feet. The Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg announced that the data centre will make one hundred high-paying jobs and be supported by two new solar energy projects in south and west Tennessee. The Gallatin data centre will be the company’s 13th data centre in the United States and 17th worldwide.
Facebook’s investment comes with business and educational grants for the community. The company recently offered $100 million in grants to small businesses globally and will soon announce a second round for Black-owned small businesses. Communities with existing data centres received $1 million grants after the coronavirus pandemic began. Science and technology education programs are also commonly awarded to host cities.
“We didn’t need any more $15-an-hour jobs,” James Fenton, executive director of the Gallatin Economic Development Agency mentioned recalling the time when he and his colleagues kicked off the effort to attract a hyper-scale data center project to the city. “We just looked out there and decided this was the direction we wanted to go.”
The city has approved a package of tax breaks worth $19.5 million for Facebook, according to Gallatin News. But they expect the project to ultimately be “revenue-positive.”
Facebook said it has signed contracts for 220MW of new solar energy generation in Tennessee in support of its operations in the area. “And we are planning on contracting for even more in preparation for this data center coming online,” the company said in a blog post.