Facebook plans to expand its data center footprint to the state of Arizona with the opening of an $800 million project in the Phoenix area. The Facebook Mesa Data Center is expected to span approximately 960,000 square feet in Mesa and stand as a model of energy efficiency and water conservation.
In July 2021, a Facebook subsidiary acquired roughly 390 acres of land at the intersection of Elliot and Ellsworth roads that can, over a multi-year period, accommodate as much as 3 million square feet of development, according to Maricopa County records. “If the need arises, this could grow to be a five-building campus,” a Facebook spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive.
Facebook didn’t just stumble upon Mesa, which is roughly 20 miles east of downtown Phoenix. The social media titan spent a few years on a site selection process that ultimately resulted in the location emerging victorious over numerous alternatives for its access to infrastructure, opportunities for renewable energy development, strong talent pool in both construction and operations, and standings as a solid community partner. The new facility will be located in Mesa’s Elliot Road Tech Corridor.
DPR Construction is the general contractor on the data center, which is being built to achieve LEED Gold certification. The project will yield as many as 1,500 construction jobs at peak and roughly 100 new positions when operational. Furthermore, the related solar energy and water restoration project will result in the creation of additional jobs.
Sustainability at its best
For starters, Facebook will build two buildings encompassing 915,000 square feet of data hall space and 46,000 square feet of office space on the sprawling greenfield site. The Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects-designed data center campus will be 100 percent renewable, with Facebook backing 450 megawatts of new renewable energy endeavors at three sites in Arizona.
“Access to renewable energy is an important part of our site selection process. We have worked with a number of states in the past to create green tariffs that allow customers to purchase renewable energy,” the spokesperson said.
Additionally, Facebook will restore more than 200 million gallons of water annually in the Colorado River and Salt River basins so that the data center restores more water than it consumes. Ultimately, the facility’s water use will be 60 percent less than that of the average facility.
The Facebook effect
A big name can do more than just turn heads; it can change minds. Many believe Facebook’s strong commitment to being green will become increasingly infectious.
“More and more companies are looking at how their Cloud infrastructure aligns with overall sustainability goals—and they know their customers care. When an influential company firm like Facebook makes a commitment, we know it moves the needle for all industry,” Gretchen Kinsella, Arizona business unit leader with DPR Construction, told CPE.
The Facebook Mesa Data Center will mark the company’s 14th data center in the U.S. and its 18th in the world. As for future projects, the spokesperson said: “Any additional growth will be based on business needs.”