David Clemons and Jackie Gutknecht | Covington News
ATLANTA — Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, will build a massive data center in northern Newton County.
The California-based company will make a multimillion-dollar investment at Stanton Springs near Social Circle, Gov. Nathan Deal and U.S. Rep. Jody Hice said Wednesday at the State Capitol.
“The No. 1 company in the world in terms of active users has chosen the No. 1 state for business for a significant economic development project,” Deal said.
The first phase of Facebook’s Newton Data Center will include an investment of about $750 million with a 970,000-square-foot facility. Monroe-based Walton Electric Membership Corp. will provide it with renewable energy using outdoor air instead of air conditioners.
Facebook will have more than 100 full-time employees, and officials said thousands of construction jobs will be needed for the project.
Groundbreaking is expected later this month and the data center is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2020.
It will be the ninth U.S. data center for Facebook Inc.
Local officials including commissioners from Newton and Walton counties were on hand for what was hailed as a red-letter day.
“This is a big day for Newton County,” Marcello Banes, chairman of the Newton County Board of Commissioners, said. We’re excited about Facebook being in our community. It’s a wonderful partnership. We look forward to being partners with Facebook.
“Facebook is a household name throughout the world. Everybody’s on Facebook. To have Facebook in our community along with Shire, so many possibilities open up and we’re excited about it. We welcome them to Newton County. Go Facebook!”
Hice, R-Ga., said he expects the company’s investment “will open the door to hundreds of jobs for Georgians, while strengthening key industries that are spurring economic growth statewide.
“Under the leadership of Gov. Deal, Georgia has become a powerhouse for businesses. In fact, we are now consistently ranked as one of the top states in which to do business.”
Hice gave credit to Shane Short, executive director of the Development Authority of Walton county, and Serra P. Hall, the director of commercial development of the Newton County Office of Economic Development, for their work to bring Facebook to the area.
Stanton Springs is a project of the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties and TPA Group LLC. It’s the home to Shire PLC and the Georgia Bioscience Training Center and is located where Morgan, Newton and Walton counties converge along Interstate 20, about 45 miles east of downtown Atlanta.
This story will be updated online, and a full report will be available in this weekend’s Covington News.