Utah City Says ‘No Thank You’ to Facebook Data Center

West Jordan concedes contest over project to New Mexico

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

August 24, 2016

2 Min Read
Utah City Says ‘No Thank You’ to Facebook Data Center
A collage of profile pictures makes up a wall in the break room at Facebook’s data center in Forest City, North Carolina. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

Officials in West Jordan, Utah, have terminated negotiations with Facebook about a potential data center project the company was considering there.

While representing a big potential investment, the project “would not include a long-term significant employment base,” a statement issued by the West Jordan city manager’s office late Tuesday afternoon read.

The Facebook data center, codenamed Project Discus, would have meant a $1.5 billion investment by the company. The incentive package various state and local agencies at one point considered offering the company was valued up to $260 million, but not all entities whose tax revenues would be affected by the package agreed, which meant Utah could not beat the size of the incentive package that was being offered by the State of New Mexico, whom Utah was competing against for the project.

Facebook, whose name the city did not disclose as the company behind Project Discus but to whom local press have attributed the project, hasn’t publicly voiced any specific plans to build a data center in either of the states, issuing instead a standard statement that said the company is always on the look-out for a good location for its next data center build.

The final decision to pull out of negotiations over the potential Facebook data center project came after the Utah State Board of Education voted against offering the company a property tax incentive at the expense of the Jordan School District, according to the city manager’s statement. Another vote against the tax breaks came last week from the Salt Lake County Mayor and County Council.

“While this incentive package was more than those previously offered to other companies wanting to locate in Utah, due to [the company's] size, investment ($1.5 billion) and name recognition, it was not competitive enough as compared to the incentives offered by the State of New Mexico, who also has been courting this data center project,” the city manager’s statement read.

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