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Facebook to build new data center in Eagle Mountain

Architectural rendering of a planned Facebook data center in Eagle Mountain, Utah.

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Facebook has officially made friends with Utah.

Governor Gary Herbert, along with other leaders, revealed Wednesday that the social media giant is the company behind plans for a new, 970,000-square-foot data center in Eagle Mountain. Once constructed, it will occupy 490 acres south of the city center in the Sweetwater Industrial Park.

Facebook is expected to spend $750 million on the first phase of the project, which would qualify the company for $150 million in state tax incentives over 20 years. Additional phases could expand the data center and qualify for further incentives in the future.

State leaders have been involved in discussions with Facebook for at least the last year, though the name of the company was kept hidden from the public. The Economic Development Corporation of Utah last week provided details about the effort, saying it involved a “major technology company.”

At the time, edcUtah said the data center could employ as many as 30 to 50 full-time employees, with the likelihood of additional contract workers. In a press release, Eagle Mountain described that as a “modest increase in employee headcount” that will not negatively impact traffic, schools or other resources.

Eagle Mountain pitched the project to residents and associated agencies by arguing the development would not strain existing infrastructure. Facebook will be responsible for paying for more than $100 million in infrastructure improvements, including extending water, sewer and power lines.

That will include construction of a new substation which city leaders say will benefit others in the city. The data center is also claimed to be very efficient with water. Facebook will have to purchase its own water rights.

Rachel Peterson, Facebook Vice President of Data Center Strategy, says her company chose Eagle Mountain for its “access to renewable energy, a strong talent pool, and good community partners.”

Road improvements around the sites are also part of the plan.

Teary-eyed, Eagle Mountain Mayor Tom Westmoreland said Facebook’s data center fits with the city’s vision for growth, especially since it does not draw much commercial traffic.