Facebook To Expand Its Data Center In New Mexico

Officials of Facebook have announced that they will be expanding the company’s future data center in New Mexico. The expansion of the data center to be located on the outskirts of Albuquerque will consist of an additional building with 460,000 square feet of space. This will bring the total square footage of the building to 980,000. The expansion is expected to create additional jobs and keep workers employed for longer.

“Building one will be live and serving traffic in late 2018, and now with a second building, we expect to keep construction crews busy until 2020. At peak, we project 1,000 construction workers will be on site daily,” KC Timmons, a Facebook data center operations executive said in a statement.

Budget crisis

The development is good news for the state of New Mexico which has suffered a budget crisis partly stemming from a natural gas and oil sector downturn. New Mexico has also been struggling with a high unemployment rate. Business owners and state officials are consequently positioning themselves to benefit from the windfall arising from the construction phase of the data center and also once it becomes operational next year. In order to guard against the natural gas and oil sector volatility, there is push for more incentives aimed at luring more high-tech players into the state.

Breaking of the ground for the first building took place last year in October. While the first building will go live next year, the second building is not expected to be complete until after 2020. So far the number of work hours logged totals over 280,000. The amount of dirt that has been moved is estimated to be more than 3,000,000 cubic yards while the amount of concrete that has been poured amounts to over 30,000 cubic yards.

Utah lost

Lobbying for Facebook’s newest data center to be located in New Mexico started in August 2015 when state Governor Susana Martinez visited Facebook headquarters in California with a view of promoting her state. Eventually New Mexico was picked after beating Utah in a bidding war.

Among the incentives Facebook was provided with included reprieve from property taxes for a period of three decades. However, Facebook would have to make annual payments which would start at $50,000 but never exceed half a million dollars. New Mexico also promised Facebook industrial revenue bonds worth billions of dollars. The state stands to gain tax revenue amounting to approximately $75 million.

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