Henrico officials, governor announce major expansion of Facebook data center

Henrico County officials joined Gov. Ralph Northam and representatives from Facebook this afternoon to announce the company’s plans to add three buildings to the Henrico Data Center currently under construction in White Oak Technology Park.

With the additional buildings, the data center will expand to five buildings totaling more than 2.4 million square feet, officials said. The project will support approximately 1,500 construction jobs. The Henrico Data Center will support more than 200 full-time positions once completed.

“Henrico County is thrilled to share the news that our friends at Facebook continue to see value and opportunity in our community,” said Tyrone E. Nelson, Varina District supervisor and vice chairman of the Henrico County Board of Supervisors. “This expansion is affirmation that Facebook made the right choice last year when it selected Henrico’s White Oak Technology Park as the site for its new data center. The infrastructure is here and so is the talent to support it.”

Designed for high-tech operations like data centers and advanced manufacturing, White Oak’s infrastructure includes high-speed fiber optic cable from multiple providers, high-capacity electric power designed for large-volume loads and water service with a capacity of 10 million gallons per day. Other tenants include Hewlett-Packard and QTS, which currently operates a data center in White Oak. The Facebook site covers about 330 acres in the 2,270-acre industrial park.

“Virginia and Henrico County have been great partners from the beginning, and we are thrilled to be building on the partnership that we established nearly one year ago,” said Matt VanderZanden, director of site selection for Facebook. “We are committed to investing in the economic vitality of the communities that host us. This expansion will bring additional investment, jobs and renewable energy resources to the area.”

VanderZanden added that he expects the expansion “will keep construction crews busy through at least 2020.”

The expansion comes in addition to Facebook’s $750 million investment in 2017. That investment launched construction of the data center’s 970,000-square-foot, two-building first phase last year. The first phase is on schedule to open in the first half of 2019, officials said. Facebook’s initial investment for the project totaled $1 billion, including $250 million for the construction of solar power facilities throughout the state to supply the data center exclusively with renewable energy.

Work on the expansion will begin next month, officials said. The three new buildings each will be 500,000 square feet. When completed, the data center will become Henrico’s largest water customer and one of its largest taxpayers, officials said.

County Manager John A. Vithoulkas noted the continuing benefit of tax-rate changes, approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2017, that significantly reduced Henrico’s business property tax rate for data centers. He also applauded the efforts of more than 60 county staff members — from Building Construction and Inspections, Planning, Public Utilities, Public Works and the Economic Development Authority — for helping get the massive project off the ground.

“This is truly an exciting time for Henrico,” Vithoulkas said. “A year ago, we told our friends at Facebook that we would be with them throughout the course of this project. That commitment is stronger than ever as the company moves ahead with this expansion. Henrico appreciates the vote of confidence from Facebook today and looks forward to continuing this partnership in the years ahead.”

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