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Facebook Likes Stanton Springs for $750 Million Data Center

Social Media Giant Will Occupy 970,000 SF in Two Buildings
March 8, 2018
It seems appropriate that the world's largest social media network would choose a city named Social Circle for its latest mega-data center park.

That's just what Facebook did this week, announcing plans to invest $750 million in a new data center park in Stanton Springs in the part of Social Circle, GA, in Newton County. Stanton Springs, a 1,620-acre mixed-use development, is situated about 45 miles east of CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. The park will comprise 970,000 square feet of data center space in two buildings.

Facebook Vice President of Data Center Strategy Rachel Peterson visited Atlanta this week to announce the project with Gov. Nathan Deal. "As a company, Facebook is committed to creating a positive impact at the local level - that means hiring, partnering and investing locally," Peterson said. "We are thrilled to be making Georgia our new home and look forward to a long and strong partnership with the state, Newton County and our new community."

The data center will "host many of the videos, photos and news articles you see on your Facebook newsfeed every day," she said.

Gov. Deal said Facebook's new data center park will create at least 100 full-time jobs, including engineering and data center technician positions. The governor took the opportunity to remind major corporations that the state remains committed to working with them.

"Georgia's business-friendly climate and world-class technological infrastructure continue to attract innovative companies like Facebook," Deal said. "It is fitting that the No. 1 company in the world in terms of active users has chosen the No. 1 state for business for this project. We appreciate Facebook's leadership for recognizing Georgia as a state that serves not only as a major hub for general business, but also as a place where tech firms can be successful in the future."

Deal's comments appeared to rebuke Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's recent attack on one of the state's largest employers - Delta - for canceling a discount for members of the National Rifle Association. Cagle vowed to - and did - kill a proposed tax break on jet fuel for Atlanta-based Delta. That prompted some analysts to predict that Atlanta no longer was a favorite to win the coveted HQ2 of Amazon.

The Newton Data Center will be powered completely by clean and renewable energy and cooled by outdoor air, not energy-sucking air conditioners, Facebook said.

The company is making a heavy commitment to its data center network. In 2017, Facebook's cost of revenue jumped 44 percent, and "the majority of the increase was due to an increase in operational expenses related to our data centers and technical infrastructure," Facebook said in its 2017 Annual Report, or Form 10K.

Facebook's investment pays off for the communities that house its data centers, according to a new study from RTI International of North Carolina. Facebook's data centers in Prineville, OR, Forest City, NC, Altoona, IA and Fort Worth, TX, contributed a total of $5.8 billion in GDP to the U.S. economy since 2010, the RTI study found. The four centers spent $4.2 million from 2010-2016 - mostly in the construction, wholesale trade and real estate sectors.

Moreover, the RTI study found, for every job created at a Facebook data center, five jobs are supported in the community.

Facebook's Newton Data Center at Social Circle - its ninth in the United States - will be operational in 2020.

Tony Wilbert, Atlanta Market Reporter  CoStar Group   

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