Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Facebook Creates Jobs Via Data Center In Prineville, Oregon

Prineville, a city of 10,000 in Oregon, is joining other cities in becoming a primary hub for housing electronic data. Facebook, Inc, based in Palo Alto, Califoania, has promised to spend $175 million over the next three years to build a 145,000-square-foot data-storage farm in Princeville. These data centers with their banks of computers store huge amounts of electronic data and consume huge amounts of electricity, which has made the Pacific Northwest, with its abundant supplies of hydropower, a favored destination.

Facebook intends to use evaporative cooling technology to keep banks of computers from overheating, obviating the need to construct the costly water-cooling towers its uses at the data centers it's leasing in Virginia and the Bay Area.

Quincy, Washington, with a population of 5,000, lured Intuit to build a 240,000-square-foot data center, not far from similar operations run by Yahoo and Microsoft. Boardman and The Dalles, two cities that hug Interstate 84 along Oregon's border with Washington, have welcomed Amazon and Google, respectively.

Facebook will be taxed for the next 15 years only at the current assessed value of the unimproved parcel, around $25,000 a year, with the county foregoing as much as $3 million annually on the value of any new structures on the property. In exchange, Prineville will receive an annual $110,000 "community fee" from Facebook, and stands to reap $50,000 in user fees for every $1 million worth of power Facebook buys from local provider, Pacific Power Inc.

Prineville officials say the real value to the city is permanent jobs—35 engineering, maintenance and information technology positions the city calculates will have a combined annual payroll of $1.75 million. Prineville is also counting on contractors flocking to the region to service Facebook's installation, providing air conditioning and ventilation maintenance, security, landscaping and janitorial services. For now the up-tick is coming from construction jobs—around 150 just in the clearing and leveling of the land. Several nearby homes have been sold in recent weeks to contractors expecting to be here for the long haul. (WSJ, 3/9/10)

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