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Facebook 'Friends' North Carolina With Data Center

Facebook's New Data Center
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Facebook's New Data Center

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue on Thursday said that Facebook plans to build a $450 million data center near Forest City in Rutherford County, the second data facility that the company will own.

"We are proud that Facebook chose to make North Carolina a 'friend,'" said Gov. Perdue in a statement. "The feeling is certainly mutual. You can't pick up a newspaper, read a magazine or flip on the television without hearing more great news about our state. The investment and jobs at the data center will be a boon to that region of the state, and will help confirm North Carolina's distinction as a global business destination."

The project is expected to take 18 months to build and to create over 250 construction and mechanical jobs, according to the Office of Gov. Perdue. The completed data center is expected to employ between 35 and 45 full-time and contract workers. Future expansion will also be a possibility.

Marking a movement from leased to owned facilities, the Rutherford County data center is Facebook's second; it has already begun building a data center in Prineville, Oregon.

Facebook's data center is located in a narrow corridor in the Western portion of the state near where Apple and Google have also established data centers. IBM has a data center in the state, too.

Tim Crowley, a spokesperson for Gov. Perdue, attributes North Carolina's appeal to its business-friendly environment, its skilled workforce, and the low cost of doing business. In particular, that means the low cost of electricity in the state.

Facebook spokesperson Barry Schnitt offered a similar assessment of the state's merits, noting that data centers require a combination of things that can be difficult to find in one place. "Once it has been established that a region can attract, build and maintain one of these facilities cost-effectively, people notice," he said in an e-mail. "For us, the region offers a business friendly environment; a shovel-ready industrial site with excellent access and at a good price; available and affordable utilities, access to both operating personnel and facility construction expertise (again, as demonstrated by the other facilities); and very helpful city, state and county governments that offered strong incentives as well as the ability to quickly and decisively address issues."

The project will be designed to meet "LEED gold standards." LEED is a green building certification system that measures energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and resource stewardship.