EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Facebook will expand the size of a data center under construction in Eagle Mountain from 1 million square feet to 1.5 million square feet, according to a Wednesday news release from the data center.
Construction on the data center began in May 2018, and crews have already spent nearly 2 million hours pouring over 41,000 yards of structural concrete and incorporating over 7,000 tons of steel. At construction’s peak, about 1,250 construction workers will be on site, the news release claims.
With the expansion, Facebook estimates the data center will represent an investment of more than $1 billion — $250 million more than originally expected in May 2018. The tech company also expects the data center to support over 200 jobs — a significant increase from the 30 to 50 jobs projected last year.
Even before the expansion, the data center was the largest to land in the Beehive State. The project’s completion is expected by 2020 and is located at the Sweetwater Industrial Park between a mink farm and water treatment facility.
Eagle Mountain has worked for nearly a decade to lure data centers to the city, a plan officials say works well for the more isolated area. While Eagle Mountain can’t competitively draw other industries, the city — geographically the third-largest in the state — is a perfect fit for data centers that require a lot of land but not too many new employees.
Officials say a lower number of employees is best for a city that may not be able to handle an increased impact on local resources like schools, police services or traffic. The city will also see a 1,000% return on investment, according to a fiscal impact study commissioned by Eagle Mountain.
“It’s good to see that things are happening not just on the I-15 corridor,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said during a press conference in May 2018, noting that projects like the data center can help develop areas that wouldn’t otherwise be developed.
Facebook promised in May 2018 to spend at least $100 million to expand the city’s infrastructure to accommodate the project. This investment would, in turn, expand infrastructure in all of Cedar Valley and increase the county’s power grid by an anticipated 48%.
Facebook has also contracted for more than 450 megawatts of new solar energy in Utah, which will ensure the data center is powered by 100% renewable energy.
"Facebook's decision to expand an already impressive $1 billion project in Utah County is exciting news," Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes said in an emailed statement. "Our state continues to shine as an amazing place for tech companies — and many other industries — to invest in the future."
To draw Facebook to Utah, however, local taxing entities agreed to a tax increment financing deal. In short, Facebook will receive back a percentage of the property taxes they pay to those entities, said Eagle Mountain economic development director Aaron Sanborn.
The tech company will get back about $120 million for the first phase of the project to offset the cost of development — particularly the infrastructure cost, which totals well in excess of $100 million. Another $13 million will go to the Eagle Mountain Redevelopment Agency for affordable housing in the area.
The newly-announced phase is about half the size of the first one, so Facebook will receive back about $60 million, and $6.6 million will go to the redevelopment agency, Sanborn explained.
“The initial phase brought in the infrastructure to drive more than just the initial phase, but as they continue to expand, Facebook likely will need to build increased infrastructure needed to offset their impact,” he said in an email.
The financing deal does include time limits and dollar caps at which point, Facebook will cease to receive a percentage of the property taxes they pay.
"While we are just announcing one additional building today, we look forward to continuing to grow at this location!" the news release reads.