Henrico EDA is pleased to announce that the first phase of Facebook’s Henrico Data Center campus at White Oak Technology Park has just been recognized by Trade & Industry Development magazine for its prestigious CiCi (Corporate Investment & Community Impact) Award in the Corporate Investment category, indicating that the project is one of the top 15 largest corporate investments announced in the nation in 2017. Projects considered for the Corporate Investment category were those with the largest numbers in capital investment and jobs created or retained.
Facebook announced plans to locate its data center in Henrico last October, and sitework began immediately with steel erection in February – a mere five months later – thanks to Henrico’s fast-track permitting approval program and the development-ready site at White Oak Technology Park. White Oak Technology Park is a master-planned high-tech manufacturing center conveniently located at the intersection of I-295 and I-64 in eastern Henrico. Optimally designed to meet the scale and digital speed requirements of a range of tech industries, its robust infrastructure makes it an ideal location for data centers.
“Henrico County is well-positioned for future data center growth, given that we have more than 1,200 acres of affordable land still available in White Oak Technology Park,” said Henrico EDA Executive Director Gary McLaren. “The site is served by Dominion Energy via two different 230 KVA transmission lines, has millions of gallons of water and sewer capacity, and offers connectivity through multiple fiber providers, with additional connections to the new transatlantic subsea cables landing on Virginia’s shoreline 100 miles away.”
WHITE OAK TECHNOLOGY PARK AT A GLANCE
Location: Technology Boulevard and U.S. Route 60 (Williamsburg Road), at the intersection of I-295 and I-64 in Henrico County, Virginia
In October, Facebook announced a $1 billion investment in the Commonwealth. The social media giant is directly investing $750 million to construct a first-phase (970,000-square-foot) data center, and a new renewable energy tariff designed by Dominion Energy and Facebook is projected to result in hundreds of millions of dollars in the construction of new solar facilities in Virginia to service the data center with 100 percent renewable energy. All told, Facebook’s initial phase will bring thousands of construction jobs and more than 100 full-time operational jobs to the region and is expected to be complete in 2019.
During a formal announcement last October, Rachel Peterson, Director of Data Strategy for Facebook, explained some of the factors that influenced the company’s site selection. “When considering new data center locations, we not only look for clean and renewable energy solutions, but great partnerships within the local community, a strong pool of local talent, excellent access to fiber, and a robust electric grid,” she said. “Henrico County and the Commonwealth of Virginia have it all.”
Henrico County approved a Plan of Development for Facebook’s Henrico Data Center that ultimately allows for five buildings on the 300+ acre site Facebook purchased. The construction of the three additional buildings would result in an approximate 2.5 million square foot campus, thereby significantly increasing the investment.
The announcement also followed the Henrico County Board of Supervisors’ decision last year to dramatically reduce the property tax rate on computers and related equipment for data centers. “Obviously, the county’s decision to set data centers as a separate class of taxable property and then lower the rate from $3.50 per $100 to $.40 per $100 on computer equipment helped make Henrico County’s value proposition more attractive,” said McLaren. “But the demonstrated ability to fast-track the project so that construction could start immediately after the announcement was valued, as well.”
“We are honored that Facebook’s Henrico Data Center has been selected as one of Trade & Industry Development’s Corporate Investment award winners, especially since it recognizes just two of the five buildings Facebook plans to build in White Oak Technology Park,” said Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas. “It’s gratifying to see the partnership between Facebook, Henrico County, and the Commonwealth of Virginia recognized in this way.”