Facebook plans $300M data center, Google expands

DES MOINES – Iowa economic development officials on Tuesday approved tax credits for Facebook to build a nearly $300 million data center in Altoona and increased incentives for Google that allows it to expand in Council Bluffs.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority board approved $18 million in tax credits for the Facebook project to be built near Interstate 80 in Altoona, a Des Moines suburb. The project is expected to create 31 permanent jobs and hundreds of construction jobs.

Kearney, Neb., also sought the project.

“The feeling here is one of relief and joy because we’ve been working on this for a year and a half and we were in competition with Nebraska,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. “From a branding point of view it doesn’t hurt to be friends with Facebook does it? We’re quite excited about it.”

The Facebook project that was approved is expected to be the first of three similar-sized data centers, each about 300,000 square feet, to be built on a 194-acre site. The total value of the Facebook investment is expected to exceed $1 billion when completed, Durham said.

Altoona will provide a 20-year property tax exemption

The jobs must pay at least $23.12 per hour.

“We’re thrilled to become a part of the Altoona community, and especially appreciative of all the partners who helped make this project happen,” Jay Parikh, vice president of infrastructure engineering for Facebook, said in a written statement. “Facebook’s mission is to connect the world. Thanks to Iowa, we’re building the global infrastructure to bring the next billion people online.”

The Facebook project was kept under wraps for more than a year as the company negotiated on a location for the project.

“This is a glorious day in Altoona. It’s no secret any more folks,” said Mayor Skip Conkling.