Data centers house vast amounts of computer servers and equipment that support internet usage. They also hold backup computer files and redundant power supplies for companies. Metro Atlanta has been heavily recruiting these facilities and ranks as 6th in the nation with about 250 megawatts of production, according to CBRE.
While the industry has been exponentially growing to meet demand, data centers present unique issues for governments. They use lots of resources, such as water and electricity to power and cool the complexes.
Local and state governments often issue large incentive packages to attract them, citing competition among cities and states. But they create few jobs compared to other large development projects.
Despite the downsides, economic developers in Georgia continue to pursue data centers because they generate a handful of high-tech, well-paid jobs and they can help attract other technology companies, like software developers. Atlanta’s current data center stock has less than a 4% vacancy rate, according to CBRE, sign of very high demand.
“Georgia continues to thrive as a premiere global data center market,” Tim Huffman, executive vice president at CBRE in Atlanta, said in the release. “One of the key drivers for metro Atlanta is readily available access to reliable power and fiber connectivity.”
The Fayette County Development Authority sold the land to QTS for about $250,000 an acre.
According to reports from the Fayette County Citizen, the first local news outlet to report the sale, QTS plans to invest more than $1 billion into the project. The scope of the project could extend to 250 megawatts and span 1.5 million square feet.
The Fayetteville site is currently farmland, and the county has been advertising it as a megasite ripe for data center development for years. According to the Citizen, Facebook considered the land before joining the Stanton Springs development east of Atlanta along I-20. That industrial park includes the planned $5 billion Rivian electric vehicle factory.