American social media conglomerate Facebook is building a 900,000-square-foot data center facility in DeKalb, Illinois, that will be powered by renewable energy.
The project marks the first data center in Illinois and the 12th facility in the United States. According to the Facebook video, the project will create an estimated 1,200 construction jobs, and 100 operational jobs for engineers, technicians, and logistics professionals.
In addition to being powered by renewable energy, the facility will also use wind energy and use 80 percent less water than average data centers. The $800-million worth data center is set to complete by 2022.
For DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith, this Facebook project is a ‘boon to the community’ as it helps create jobs in the area. This will eventually contribute to the local economy and to the tax incentive program of DeKalb.
“Once online, this data center will be part of a network that connects people all over the world. We hope that the ripple effect of Facebook’s decision will be a catalyst for more companies to see all that DeKalb and this region have to offer,” added Smith.
The data center, approximately 505-acre project, is located on the southeast corner of the Gurler intersection and Peace roads. The land size accommodates Facebook’s five buildings, and the two will be completed by 2022.
Facebook is yet to expand, as the social media giant plans everything through. Data strategy vice president Rachel Peterson said they are thinking of expanding as the time progresses.
For experts, the decision to build a data center in Illinois is an excellent idea, as the lawmakers approved the data center tax incentive last year. This incentive program is believed to attract more tech companies in Illinois and build their data centers.
Part of the requirements for the tax incentive program is investing a minimum of $250 million into a facility and hiring at least 20 full-time employees over five years. However, Peterson clarifies that Facebook ‘has not applied for the state’s incentive program.’
Peterson also showed gratitude to the City of DeKalb for allowing the Facebook community to set its foot on the region.
“We’re so thankful to the City of DeKalb, the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and all of our community partners for their diligence and enthusiasm through this process,” said Peterson.
The City of DeKalb gave Facebook a 50 percent property tax rate over the next 20 years of operation.