Facebook said to be interested in Atlanta area data center complex

4:06 p.m Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 Business
Facebook is said to have interest in a data center complex near Social Circle, east of Atlanta. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Social media giant Facebook is said to be pursuing a deal for a massive data center complex at a sprawling industrial park east of Atlanta.

The California-based Fortune 500 company is said to be behind plans for the data center complex at Stanton Springs, near the Shire pharmaceutical plant along I-20 near Social Circle.

A person familiar with the matter, who was not authorized to comment because of the sensitivity of the situation, confirmed Facebook’s interest in the project to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. It was first reported by Atlanta Business Chronicle.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company does not comment “on rumors and speculation.”

The Atlanta area has been a hot bed for data center development in recent years, given its stable power and fiber internet infrastructure and growing population base. The region also is less prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

Google has a server farm complex in Douglas County, and operator Switch announced plans in 2017 for a $2.5 billion campus in Douglas as well.

But in general, data centers create relatively few permanent jobs.

Data centers are essentially massive compounds of servers used to power the Internet and hold everything from your Instagram photos to corporate secrets. The explosion of personal and business data usage — from streaming video, the Internet of Things and electronic purchases — means more data center space is needed.

Stanton Springs, a 1,600-plus-acre industrial park about 40 miles east of downtown Atlanta, is co-owned by a local development authority and technology park developer TPA Group.

The Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties was scheduled to meet Monday evening on matters including a purchase and sale agreement, a pre-development agreement and site access agreement.

Shane Short, the economic development director for Walton, and a representative of the authority, said he could comment on active projects. He said the agency might have more to say after the meeting.

A woman who answered the phone at TPA Group said the company does not take calls from the media.

The sprawling complex is home to a Shire plant for plasma-based therapies and a state biomedical training center. The Shire project, formerly part of Baxalta, a spinoff from Baxter International, is expected to employ 1,500 when fully operational.

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