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Facebook greatly expanding its Fort Worth data center now under construction

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, center, joined other dignitaries in the groundbreaking event for Facebook's new data center project at Alliance in north Fort Worth in July 2015.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, center, joined other dignitaries in the groundbreaking event for Facebook's new data center project at Alliance in north Fort Worth in July 2015. Star-Telegram archives

Facebook plans to triple the size of its Fort Worth data center complex currently under construction in far north Fort Worth in order to keep pace with the growing number of Facebook users and their use of video.

On Friday, the social media giant said it will now construct five buildings totaling nearly 2.5 million square feet of space, instead of the three buildings totaling 750,000 square feet as initially planned. Facebook has said its investment in Fort Worth could reach beyond $1 billion.

Facebook made its announcement on the project’s Facebook page.

“This expansion comes as more people around the world use Facebook apps and services every day, and as video becomes even more central to the way people connect and share with each other,” said KC Timmons, site manager for the Fort Worth data center. “ With this expansion, our Fort Worth data center will play an even more important role in making that possible. We’re now starting to roll racks of servers into the first building, and we couldn’t be more impressed with the fast pace of the teams working on this project.”

The announcement comes nearly a year after Facebook, based in Menlo Park, Calif., bought an additional 39 acres adjacent to the 110 acres it already owned at Texas 170 and Park Vista Boulevard in the Alliance development. At that time, Facebook speculated that the additional land would be for an expansion.

Robert Sturns, Fort Worth’s economic development director, said it’s a great deal to see Facebook expand its Fort Worth presence.

“This is what we hoped for when did the deal and they have been great to work with,” Sturns said. “We are excited not only about the overall impact to the economy, but what this could mean as we look to attract similar operations to Fort Worth.”

In May 2015, the Fort Worth City Council approved a 20-year, $146.7 million incentive package on real and business personal property taxes for the project. Tarrant County commissioners also approved a 10-year tax abatement for up to 60 percent of new real and business personal property value.

Construction on the data center started in July 2015, a year after Facebook vetted 220 cities for the project. Fort Worth was chosen from a group of four finalists.

The first data center building is expected to come online early next year. Facebook said it has started construction on the second building, which could be up and running in December 2017, and is nearing starting construction on the third building.

When construction begins on the remaining two buildings hasn’t been determined, the company said.

Timmons said about 950 workers on site every day have logged more than 1.7 million hours of work. The data center is expected to have more than 120 employees when its completed.

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