Economic Development

Rutherford County and Facebook Bring $450 Million Data Center to North Carolina

Some of this is relatively old news in the world of immediate information, but it’s certainly worth mentioning to our readers. Well, it’s also worth our view.

This month, Facebook and leaders from Rutherford County announced that the social networking company committed to building a $450 million data center near Forest City, North Carolina. The high-tech Facebook facility is expected to create 250 construction jobs over the course of its 18-month gestation, and, when complete, is expected to employ between 35 and 45 well-deserving individuals.

The excitement around the facility has, as is the natural course of things in today’s world, birthed a Facebook page entitled “Rutherford Data Center.” The page is already sporting some 7,160 “likes.” To put this in perspective, a mere 22,860 people “like” the New York Islanders hockey club. No, that doesn’t give you any perspective? How about this: Rutherford County’s population is only some 63,000 people.

As part of its agreement, Facebook will receive $11.4 million in incentives from the County, assuming certain investment goals are satisfied, and the Company will be eligible to receive tax exemptions on electricity consumption and business property. The facility will be built in the location of a now-defunct boat manufacturing site about 65 miles west of Charlotte.

This project is exciting for North Carolina insofar as it maintains the “cloud computing” momentum created in recent years by tech pioneers Apple and Google in bringing their talents to the State. Cloud computing is where a company stores data itself and allows customers to access it remotely from anywhere via the Internet. Many technology companies that used to lease data-storage space are now finding that it’s more efficient and cost-effective to build their own data centers. Yes, I had to call the Firm’s IT department to accurately draft those last two sentences.

These are exciting times for businesses and local governments in North Carolina. We’ll continue, as always, to bring news and analysis of our region’s legal and business ingenuity.

Mike Thelen is a lawyer in Womble Carlyle’s Real Estate Litigation practice group. He regularly represents a wide variety of clients in land use and land development issues, from local governments to businesses, in both state and federal venues throughout North Carolina.

Categories: Economic Development

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