Gallatin city leaders have approved an economic development incentive package for a rumored Facebook data center project that would result in an estimated $19.5 million in overall tax breaks for the company.

A resolution allowing the Gallatin Industrial Development Board to issue a payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) program for Project Woolhawk was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Gallatin City Council.

Instead of paying property taxes each year, the agreement would allow the unnamed company to pay a predetermined amount for each of the up to six buildings being considered for the project – a combined $4.25 million annually. 

The tax abatement would last for 20 years for each of the buildings as long as they were constructed within 20 years of the initial building. The combined annual payment would also increase by 5 percent every five years.

The overall tax incentive package is estimated at $19.5 million for both phases of the development, according to an economic impact analysis study completed earlier this month by Younger Associates. The local tax benefit from the project would be nearly $63 million.

There are no additional incentives being offered to the company at the local or state level, according to James Fenton, executive director of the Gallatin Economic Development Agency. The company would also pay for all water, sewer and road infrastructure associated with the development – more than $13.5 million – along with city permit and inspections fees totaling $2.4 million.

In all, approximately 809 acres of privately-owned vacant property, located north of Hartsville Pike between Roundtree Drive and Brights Lane, is being considered for the $714.8 million data center project.

Annexation, rezoning recommended for approval

On Monday, the Gallatin Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of an annexation, plan of service and rezoning request related to a majority of the property being considered for the proposed development.

The decision came after commissioners saw plans for the project that showed the initial two buildings being located on 23 acres just north of the center of the property.

“This prospect wants to make sure that they have no negative impact on surrounding territories,” Fenton said during the meeting. “They are making plans for an additional four buildings, but it will be within those same boundaries. That is why they are purchasing (more than 800 acres), so that they are really well buffered from anything around that area.”

There would be 140 people who worked at the data center daily, Fenton added when asked about the traffic impact of the development. Of those, 40 would be company employees and 100 would be subcontractors.

The project would have two entrances – one off Gateway Drive near Beretta USA’s firearms manufacturing facility and the other off Hartsville Pike between Kemp Road and Hartsville Lane.

“I know on a map it’s a large area… but when you look at this, this is a great deal for the surrounding residents,” Gallatin Planning Commission Chairman John Puryear said Monday. “The alternative is that we expand our industrial park and have 10 or 12 or 15 different businesses in there that could make a lot of noise.

“I’m excited about this project.”

The Gallatin City Council is expected to discuss rezoning and annexing the property during a committee meeting on May 26, according to a tentative schedule for the project provided by the city’s planning department. The first vote could occur on June 2 followed by a public hearing and final vote on June 16.

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