Facebook Breaks Ground on $800M Tennessee Data Center

The social media giant is building the nearly 1 million-square-foot, cutting-edge facility in an industrial park near Nashville.
Facebook Gallatin Data Center. Image courtesy of Facebook

Social media addicts may have less reason to stay inside uploading cat pictures as pandemic restrictions ease, but that isn’t slowing Facebook’s drive to build more high-tech homes for its users’ data. The company has just broken ground on a new data center northeast of Nashville, Tenn., that will cost more than $800 million and will run entirely on renewable energy.

The 982,000-square-foot project in Gallatin is the second data center Facebook has unveiled this year, after the company said it had chosen the Chicago suburb of DeKalb, Ill., for a slightly smaller facility at the end of June. The newest project, Facebook’s 13th data center in the U.S., is coming up in the Gallatin Industrial Park, neighboring Beretta USA’s firearms plant, a Gap distribution center and SERVPRO’s corporate headquarters.

READ ALSO: TikTok to Invest $500M in 1st European Data Center

Facebook touted the future server farm’s green credentials in a statement, saying that the LEED Gold-certified campus will use 80 percent less water than the average data center. The company has signed contracts for 220 megawatts of new solar energy in Tennessee to support its operations in the area, with plans to contract for more. The data center will support an estimated 100 jobs once operational, spanning from technical operations and electricians to logistics and security staff.

More homes for the cloud

City and state economic development authorities have sought for years to bring a major data center to Gallatin, a community of more than 40,000 people in Sumner County, about 30 miles northeast of Music City. Facebook earlier this year acquired the 809-acre site for the project for $20 million under the name Woolhawk LLC, according to Gallatin News.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook. Image courtesy of Anthony Quintano via Wikimedia Commons

Facebook now has seven operational data center sites in the U.S., Data Center Knowledge reported, including a project that officially launched in New Albany, Ohio, this past February. The company opened two data centers last year in New Mexico and Nebraska and has announced further sites in Virginia, Georgia, Utah and Alabama.

The Illinois facility announced in June will measure 907,000 square feet upon completion. Facebook will invest $800 million in the cutting-edge property, which will be supported by 100 percent renewable energy. The tech firm also leases data center space from operators such as Digital Realty Trust and Cloud HQ in addition to building its own sites.

Adding office space

Facebook has also been expanding its office footprint, despite an ongoing work-from-home policy that the company has recently extended to July of next year. Just last week, Vornado Realty Trust announced that the company had inked a 730,000-square-foot lease for the entire office portion of a historic post office the REIT is redeveloping in Midtown Manhattan.

The social media giant reported revenue growth of 11 percent year-over-year in the second quarter and has 3.14 billion monthly users of its apps, which include Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Facebook CFO Dave Wehner said the company expects user growth to be flat or slightly negative during the third quarter in most regions as shelter-in-place measures continue to be lifted.