BREAKING NEWS: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and representatives from Facebook announced today that the social media giant will invest $1 billion in a new data center complex in eastern Henrico County.
The facility is to be built on a 328-acre site near Technology Boulevard and Portugee Road in White Oak Technology Park and is expected to bring as many as 240 jobs to the county when completed. The news was shared on the South Portico of the State Capitol with the press, state and local lawmakers. The Henrico Facebook data center will be constructed in phases, with the first phase of the build to be a nearly one million-square-foot data center equipped to accommodate 100 employees and contractors. Three other buildings will follow, totaling 1.5 million square feet of space planned for the site and bringing the overall square footage of the complex to 2.5 million.
Construction costs are expected to total $750 million, with another $250 million going toward building solar generation facilities that will allow the data center to be up to 100 percent powered by renewable energy.
“When complete in 2019, our data center will house an infrastructure that makes it possible to fulfill our mission: to give people the power to build a community that brings the world closer together,” said Rachel Peterson, Director of Data Center Strategy for Facebook, at the Capitol today. “Our Henrico data center will be one of the most advanced energy- and water-efficient data centers in the world. We will use outdoor air to cool servers instead of energy-intense air conditioners, and [the center] will be powered by 100 percent clean and renewable energy.”
The Facebook announcement follows the recent Henrico County Board of Supervisors decision to dramatically reduce the property tax rate on computer and related equipment for data centers. (See “Henrico County Tax Changes Will Benefit Business.”)
A number of factors went into the company’s decision to locate in Henrico, according to Peterson. “We look at all sorts of factors and dozens of criteria in trying to decide where to go. Business climate is one of those factors, but certainly not the only factor. We look at things like robust infrastructure, power, and clean and renewable energy availability. We look at the strong partnerships in community, both at the local and state levels. We look at the talent we can hire for the data center. There are all sorts of factors in deciding where to put these mega-facilities, and we just found the perfect fit in Henrico.”
“I would like to thank Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas; the Executive Director of the Henrico EDA, Gary McLaren, and the Henrico EDA team; the Virginia Economic Development Partnership; and the other federal, state and local partners for their ongoing support,” added Peterson. “We are thrilled to have found a home in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and we look forward to doing what we can to help Henrico County to continue to thrive.”
“Today’s announcement is one of the most exciting in our county’s history – I can’t overstate it enough,” said Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas. “Facebook’s investment in our region and in our state affirms what an extraordinary place our Commonwealth and our county is today, and will continue to be in the future.”
READ THE OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE HERE.