Facebook to start construction of sprawling Atlanta area data center

Facebook and Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday officially confirmed plans by the global social media giant for a sprawling data center campus near Social Circle.

The project, which is expected to employ 100 in its first phase, adds to a boom in server farm development in the Atlanta area, joining recent projects by Google and data center operator Switch. The data complex will rise at Stanton Springs near the Shire pharmaceutical plant along I-20, about 40 miles east of Atlanta.

Facebook is expected to invest $750 million over the next five years, Deal said. It will be operational in 2020 and is one of nine U.S. data centers that will support billions of Facebook users.

The Atlanta area has been a hot bed for data center development in recent years, given its stable power grid and fiber internet infrastructure and growing population base. The region also is less prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. The explosion of personal and business data usage — from streaming video, the Internet of Things and electronic purchases — means more data center space is needed.