Facebook Ups Investment At Virginia Data Center

The social media giant's major data center project in Henrico County has been expanded from two buildings to a total of five.

In October 2017, Facebook announced it would build an eleventh data center in Henrico County, VA. Late last month, the company announced it will be expanding that data center project from two buildings to a total of five, adding to the original $1 billion investment. The expansion represents an additional $750 million investment at the White Oak Technology Park.

Two buildings totaling 970,000 square feet are currently under construction and Facebook anticipates they will be completed in the first half of 2019.

This expansion of the original data center project brings the social media giant’s total investment in Henrico County to $1.75 billion. The three new buildings each will total 500,000 square feet and be fully powered with renewable energy supplied by Dominion Energy. The expansion will add 200 full-time jobs and create 1,500 additional ones during construction

In addition, due to a new renewable energy tariff designed by Dominion Energy Virginia and Facebook, hundreds of millions of additional dollars will be invested in the construction of multiple solar facilities in the commonwealth to service Facebook’s Henrico Data Center with 100 percent renewable energy.

Facebook Henrico County VA data center
(Image: Facebook)

“Virginia has been a home to the Internet since the tech industry’s earliest days,” said Rachel Peterson, Director of Data Center Strategy at Facebook. “And thanks to Governor McAuliffe’s focus on making the Commonwealth a great place for investment, as well as Henrico County’s robust infrastructure and attractive business climate for data center development, we could not be more thrilled to locate our next data center here. When considering new data center locations, we not only look for clean and renewable energy solutions, but great partnerships within the local community, a strong pool of local talent, excellent access to fiber, and a robust electric grid. Henrico County and the Commonwealth of Virginia has it all.”

“I am proud to welcome Facebook to Henrico County, and we look forward to a strong partnership,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “When an industry giant like Facebook selects Virginia for a major operation, it’s proof that our efforts to build an open and welcoming economy that works for everyone are paying off. For many years, Virginia has served as a key hub for global internet traffic, emerging as one of the most active data center markets in the world. Working with companies like Facebook and many others, we are advancing Virginia’s position as a global leader in the technology economy and a world-class home to innovative companies of every size.”

“Facebook’s decision to locate its newest data center operation in Henrico County is a tremendous economic win for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Virginia’s information technology sector is booming, with nearly $12 billion in capital investment over the past decade and more than 650 data processing, hosting, and related establishments currently employing over 13,500 Virginians. Facebook, with more than 2 billion monthly users, is a powerful addition to the sector, and I commend the entire team who helped bring this company to the Commonwealth.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Henrico County, the Henrico County Economic Development Authority, and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project for Virginia. The project was also made possible through a new renewable energy tariff called Schedule RF, designed by Dominion Energy Virginia and Facebook. The tariff will allow large energy users, such as Facebook, to meet their needs through the addition of renewable energy sources. This new product offering will ultimately lead to new business opportunities throughout the commonwealth. As a secondary economic benefit, the renewable energy projects served under this tariff must be built in Virginia.

A 2017 U.S. Chamber of Commerce data center study estimates that construction of a data center of this magnitude will employ up to 1,688 local workers, provide up to $77.7 million in wages for those workers, and produce $243.5 million in output along the local economy’s supply chain during construction. The same study estimates an annual injection of $32.5 million into the economy once construction is completed.

“We are excited to welcome our newest data center campus to eastern Henrico County,” said Tyrone E. Nelson, Henrico County Board of Supervisors, Varina District. “We are a proactive community that strives to attract new businesses in key sectors and ensure the success of our existing businesses. The company recognized not only the robust and readily available infrastructure in White Oak Technology Park, but also the significant bottom line value of Henrico’s recent tax cut targeted specifically for data centers. We are pleased to add another stellar company to our corporate roster and look forward to supporting their future expansion here in Henrico County.”

“Access to clean energy is joining reliability and price as important considerations when businesses decide to locate their operations,” said Robert M. Blue, President and CEO of Dominion Energy’s Power Delivery Group. “We are pleased we have been able to develop a solution for Facebook that meets all those requirements and creates a model that can be used by other large businesses as well. It opens the door to attracting more businesses and more jobs for the communities we serve.”

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