According to the Columbus Dispatch, Facebook is behind a planned $750 million data center to be located in New Albany, Ohio. The newspaper cites “sources familiar with the plans,” who have indicated the social network giant will formally announce plans for the project next week. In addition to 1,000 construction jobs, the project is expected to create 50 permanent jobs with an average salary of $80,000.
On July 31, a company called “Sidecat” — now thought to be Facebook — was approved for Ohio state tax incentives of more than $37 million for the project. Media reports indicate that the vast majority of that figure is in the form of sales and use tax incentives on IT hardware that will be deployed in the facility. By 2023 the data center is expected to contribute $1.4 million to the local tax kitty.
Until Facebook makes an announcement, very little is known about the planned facility. It will sit on a 345-acre parcel of farmland owned by the city of New Albany and will measure 900,000 square feet. Evidently it will be the neighbor of another large data center in the region that’s owned by Amazon, and it’s expected to be operational by 2022. Other than than, it seems to be wait and see.
Facebook currently operates six data centers — four in the US and one each in Sweden and Ireland — and along with Intel, Nokia, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others, has made aspects of its data centers’ physical design “open source” under the Open Compute Project.
Speculation abounds as to the whys and wherefores of this project, with one website opining that the new facility could be planned to meet expected demand from Watch, Facebook’s new video project. In any event, the company’s number of registered users reached the two billion mark in June, so demand is increasing whether or not the video project flies.