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Report: Facebook may be coming to county
Data center could be multibillion-dollar investment at Stanton Springs
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The entrance to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., is shown in a handout photo provided by the company.

By David Clemons and Jackie Gutknecht

COVINGTON, Ga. — The world’s largest social network may be coming to Social Circle.

The Joint Development Authority for the four counties that own the Stanton Springs planned community is expected to approve a purchase and sale agreement, pre-development agreement and site access agreement on a project code named Morning Hornet.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Tuesday morning Facebook will build a 400-acre data center at the business park. Stanton Springs, off Interstate 20 near Social Circle, is home to Shire PLC and the Georgia Bioscience Training Center.

The newspaper reported Facebook would be making a $20 billion investment over several years.

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., called the report “totally, totally huge” during an interview with The News.

Although the majority of the Shire site is in Walton County, the site that would be home to Facebook is in unincorporated Newton County. Jasper and Morgan counties also own the 1,620-acre development.

“At this time, I cannot comment on active projects involving the Joint Development Authority,” Serra P. Hall, senior project manager for the Covington/Newton County Office of Economic Development, told The News early Tuesday.

The JDA has a meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in Social Circle.

Shane Short, the executive director of the Development Authority of Walton County, also declined to comment before the JDA meeting.

Social Circle Mayor Hal Dally declined to comment on media reports until there is an official vote by the JDA and announcement by a company. Dally is a member of the Development Authority of Walton County.

News of a potential Facebook decision to come to Newton County was just one big economic announcement for the state. Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Tuesday announced Groupe PSA, a French carmaker, would locate its North American headquarters in Atlanta.

Covington News owner Patrick Graham contributed to this report.