$1 billion Facebook data center coming to Henrico County

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Thursday morning that Facebook will be investing $1 billion into a data center in eastern Henrico County.

The 970,000-square-foot data center in the White Oak Technology Park will use solar power and 100 percent renewable energy. The Commonwealth is investing $250,000 in solar technology to make it happen.

Gov. McAuliffe says they have been working on the project for three years.

“I am proud to welcome Facebook to Henrico County, and we look forward to a strong partnership,” said Gov. McAuliffe, speaking at the event. “When an industry giant like Facebook selects Virginia for a major operation, it’s proof that our efforts to build an open and welcoming economy that works for everyone are paying off. For many years, Virginia has served as a key hub for global internet traffic, emerging as one of the most active data center markets in the world. Working with companies like Facebook and many others, we are advancing Virginia’s position as a global leader in the technology economy and a world-class home to innovative companies of every size.”

With the project comes thousands of construction jobs to the region and more than 100 full-time operational jobs.

“Virginia has so much to offer tech companies and other growing industries, and I’m extremely proud that Facebook has chosen Henrico to be a part of its expansion,” Sen. Tim Kaine said. “The Henrico Data Center will support thousands of good-paying construction jobs in the region, in addition to those who will eventually be permanently employed at the facility, and I’m confident it will have a positive economic impact in Richmond for years to come.”

Representatives from Facebook said the data center will be complete in 2019, and it will be one the most advanced in the world.

Meanwhile, community leaders who worked to make this happen see it as a huge win for Henrico County.

Not only will the facility bring more than 100 jobs and millions of tax dollars to the area, it’s also expected to attract other tech businesses to the neighborhood.

County leaders forsee partnerships between schools and Facebook that will provide maximum exposure to technology.

“Where we see opportunity beyond just the business and the revenue side of it, is in our local school system,” Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas said.

Henrico County Supervisor Tyrone Nelson added, “just to know Facebook is here and is willing to make investments in our school system, and with our youth programs throughout the county, it’s a good day.”

Area residents are equally excited.

“I think it’s a really good idea,” Joanne Cox said. “It’s going to bring jobs and it’s good for the economy. I think it’s really excellent.”

“I think it will really help a lot of the teenagers and new college grads that are coming back from school,” Steph Waiters added. “So I think it’s really awesome.”

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