PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville is preparing for major growth of Facebook’s data center. The social media giant plans to nearly double its footprint, with construction of two more data halls. Mayor Betty Roppe says she’s known for several months but waited to talk publicly until Facebook made its announcement, Tuesday morning.
The new facilities will take the total building count to five, in Prineville. Roppe says crews are already preparing for construction, including getting water, sewer, electricity and other necessary infrastructure to the massive site. "We make sure that we have adequate water, we make sure that we have adequate space for any infrastructure that we need, and we also are always meeting continuously with our electricity companies. We wouldn’t make a commitment that we couldn’t fulfill and still have ample ability to serve our customers – our citizens." Crook County recently sold 240 acres to Facebook, adjacent to its current campus, for $5.4 million.
Mayor Roppe tells KBND News, "They’re making a tremendous commitment to our community. We have construction workers going to be working on construction for the next four years; we also will have permanent long-term jobs available for people in our community." She isn’t sure exactly how many permanent jobs are coming, but she’s optimistic of the impact, "One of the things we always have is a minimum number of jobs something will create. They’ve always surpassed those minimums."
Facebook's first Prineville data center went up eight years ago, with a 15-year tax deferment, thanks to the enterprise zone designation; the second was built five years ago
and the third was completed last year. Roppe says these two new buildings now in the works, will eventually add to city and county coffers, as well. "Once they start paying taxes on their first building, every two years, approximately, that will increase because the next building will come online as paying taxes on it. They pay taxes currently on the land, but it’s the improvements on the land that they have the benefit of having deferred taxes." And, she says the company has continued to serve the community in other ways, "Every year they grant community action grants for tax-free entities; it’s usually around $100,000 every year. And, since 2011, they’ve donated over a million dollars – $1.265 million – to Crook County Schools and qualified nonprofits in the community. They are definitely good partners and we value them a lot."
Crews should break ground on the first new building later this month. Facebook says it should begin serving users in 2020. Construction on the second will get underway next year, with plans for it to go online in 2022.