COVINGTON, Ga. — Another data center is headed to Stanton Springs.
Bond documents for a major economic development at the multi-county industrial park show the issuance is strikingly similar to the one approved in 2018 for Facebook’s Newton Data Center, which was operating as Morning Hornet LLC at the time.
The Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties recently approved a $42 billion bond to Baymare LLC on Feb. 23 for a large-scale project, and also a purchase and sale agreement for more than 628.5 acres of land, priced at $62,500 per acre.
Both bond issues approved by the JDA were for $42 billion. Both bond issues were to fund “a data center and economic development project.”
Bond documents for the current development state Baymare is a Delaware limited liability company. Morning Hornet was also listed as a Delaware limited liability company in 2018 bond documents.
Shane Short, lead economic development director for the JDA and executive director of the Development Authority of Walton County, has said he could neither confirm nor deny the most recent bond issue was for another project for Facebook.
Construction of the data center, which will total approximately 2 million square feet, will be completed in phases, bond documents state.
Phase 1, which is estimated to cost $750 million, is expected to be finished by Dec. 31, 2026. With 900,000 square-feet of interior space, the Phase 1 facility’s completion will add approximately 50 new jobs. Phases 2, 3 and 4 facilities are estimated to cost $550 million each for 400,000 square-feet of interior space per facility, and each phase will have completion dates in 2028, 2030 and 2032, respectively.
The listed dollar amounts and facility dimensions were identical to those found within bond documents for the 2018 Facebook deal.
If approved by all four counties, Baymare will make payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, starting in April 2027 at $2 million and increase by $1 million every two years until April 2033, totaling $5 million per year. The payments will be due even if the phases are not completed on time.
Newton and Walton counties will receive 37.5% of the revenue, Morgan County will receive 15% and Jasper County 10%.
The PILOT payments will compensate the four counties for lost tax revenue due to the tax exempt status of the property.
The bonds will be issued as what Short called “phantom bonds,” where the JDA issues the bonds and then Baymare purchases them. The JDA will take title to the project and then lease it to Baymare for a period of time so the bonds can remain tax exempt.
Though Baymare will appear to make rent payments to cover debt services on the bonds, no money will change hands since the company will have bought the bonds.
School and county property taxes will be abated during construction.
As part of the deal, Baymare will also provide up to $3 million to fund construction of a two-lane frontage road that runs parallel to the project and a spur to improve traffic flow, which will begin as soon as the deal is completed.
Baymare will also pay the JDA a bond issuance fee of $1.5 million.
An official announcement to reveal the unnamed industry and celebrate another historic investment is expected after the deal is finalized later this month.