Social media giant Facebook will build a $1 billion data center in Henrico County, VA, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Of that investment, $750 million will go toward construction and the remaining $250 million will be used for solar facilities to power the center, CNN reported.
The 970,000-square-foot development will create 100 permanent positions upon completion. Facebook is expected to receive roughly $19 million in state tax breaks through 2035 for its investment.
This is the first phase of Facebook's plans for development in the White Oak Technology Park, which is located roughly 4 miles from the Richmond International Airport and also houses a 1.3 million-square-foot QTS-operated data center.
As big data gets bigger, so too have the opportunities to build infrastructure to support it. Investments in the data center category in the first half of 2017 were double that of the entire year prior at $18.2 billion, according to CBRE. If the sector holds that pace, data center investments in 2017 could exceed the total of the past three years combined, AZ Big Media noted in its analysis of CBRE's report.
Tech giants like Facebook, Apple and Google have helped to lead that charge. Google's capital expenditures increased 10% from 2015 to 2016, driven by investment in data center construction, according to Data Center Knowledge. The company is expected to continue to invest in such facilities.
Apple, too, has been investing aggressively in data centers. This summer, the company announced plans to build a $1.3 billion data center in Waukee, IA, for which it would receive more than $200 million in state and local tax breaks. Earlier this year, Apple said it would invest $1 billion to expand its Reno, NV, data center to double the size of its existing facility there.
Despite the promise such projects bring to the surrounding community, they don't always live up to expectations.
Facebook's Forest City, NC, location has had mixed results since opening in 2012, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The county hosting the center reportedly backed $13.5 million in grants for the project out of its $64 million annual budget. Meanwhile, Facebook has paid $13.9 million in taxes. The company also planned to host a "data center institute" to train local workers for jobs at the data center, but it hasn't taught its single, two-week, uncredited course since early 2016.