Prineville, Oregon Wants Facebook To Expand Data Center

Facebook may expand a data center project in Prineville, Oregon that already covers a space the size of five football fields.

Possible enlargement of the hosting facility would testify to the rapid growth rate that Facebook continues to enjoy, according to the Wall Street Journal. Right now the expansion of such a facility sounds like something the city of Prineville hungers for — which makes sense given how the region has a 19 percent unemployment rate — and Facebook is still trying to sort out.

Ken Patchett, who manages the Prineville data center for Facebook, told the Journal, “If our business requires it, we’ve made the plans to do that,” but qualified that nothing has been finalized. “One of the major benefits was there was enough available land to expand,” he said, noting that Facebook’s Prineville property includes 120 acres.

Prineville City Manager Steve Forrester’s quote in the Journal makes it sound like the expansion is more definite, and it makes sense for that municipality to be more eager for things to happen given how the social network is adding jobs to the area and paying a decent amount of property tax too. “What they [Facebook] have indicated to us is they would like to continue with expansion, which would require a second building just like the one they just built,” he said.

The already planned 300,000 square-foot data center has an opening event — whatever that means — scheduled for April. Meanwhile, the social network also has a data center under construction in North Carolina’s Rutherford County. The two represent the first hosting facilities the social network has full ownership of, replacing a previous strategy of leasing such infrastructure.

However, documents related to the recently announced $1.5 billion in funding led by Goldman Sachs indicate the need for additional data center space, beyond the already planned buildings in North Carolina and Oregon. Perhaps the investment funds are still working their way through the processing pipeline, and once that completes, the Oregon facility might become more definite.

Assuming the funds raised by Goldman are indeed earmarked for the Oregon data center, the bank most likely would dispatch its own analysts to check out the site and conduct due dilligence. They might also suggest that the social network contemplate other locations before definitively agreeing on an expansion in Prineville.

Do you think the social network will proceed with an expansion in Prineville, Oregon, or might Goldman Sachs offer another direction?

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