Facebook to Build $800M Data Center Near Chicago

The computing facility in DeKalb will be more than 900,000 square feet.

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

June 30, 2020

2 Min Read
Rendering of Facebook's future data center in DeKalb, Illinois, announced June 2020
Rendering of Facebook's future data center in DeKalb, Illinois, announced June 2020Facebook

Facebook will build its next US data center in DeKalb, Illinois, a town about 60 miles west of Chicago.

The social media giant said Tuesday it planned to spend $800 million on the future 907,000-square foot facility.

DeKalb will be Facebook’s 12th US data center site, a total that includes sites already online and sites the company has announced but has yet to launch. The total doesn’t include data centers Facebook leases from data center providers like Digital Realty Trust and Cloud HQ.

Facebook has three operational data centers it has built and manages on its own in Europe, located in Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland; and one under construction in Singapore. Like in North America, the company leases data centers in Europe and Asia in addition to its own sites.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, instead of the traditional in-person groundbreaking ceremony with local officials, the DeKalb project was announced in a video, including addresses from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith.

DeKalb is a former industrial town that lost much of its industry in the 1970s and 1980s. Its economy was further battered by the 2008 recession, and it will undoubtedly feel the growing impact of the pandemic-induced economic crisis that’s just getting started.

Related:To Get to Six Data Centers Per Region, Facebook Rethinks Its Network (Again)

Like in many such towns around the country, local officials hope a massive data center project will give the economy a much-needed boost and a shot at creating a “new identity,” as one of the speakers in the video pointed out.

“We selected this site because of the robust infrastructure, access to renewable energy, strong pool of talent for us to draw from, and a great set of community partners,” Rachel Peterson, Facebook’s VP of data center strategy, said in the video.

Facebook currently has seven operational data center sites in the US, including one in New Albany, Ohio, which was officially launched this February. The company launched two sites last year, in Los Lunas, New Mexico; and Papillon, Nebraska.

Four more US data center sites have been announced but not yet launched: Henrico, Virginia; Newton County, Georgia; Eagle Mountain, Utah; and Huntsville, Alabama.

Facebook-built and operated data centers currently online:

  • Forest City, North Carolina: launched November 2010

  • Prineville, Oregon: launched April 2011

  • Lulea, Sweden: launched June 2013

  • Altoona, Iowa: launched November 2014

  • Fort Worth, Texas: launched May 2017

  • Clonee, Ireland: launched September 2018

  • Los Lunas, New Mexico: launched Feb 2019

  • Papillon, Nebraska: launched June 2019

  • Odense, Denmark: launched September 2019

  • New Albany, Ohio: launched February 2020

Facebook-built data centers announced but not yet launched:

  • Henrico, Virginia: announced Oct. 2017

  • Newton County, Georgia: announced March 2018

  • Eagle Mountain, Utah: announced May 2018

  • Huntsville, Alabama: announced June 2018

  • Singapore: announced September 2018

  • DeKalb, Illinois: announced June 2020

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