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Facebook is believed to be considering building a large-scale data center on more than 800 acres in Gallatin. COURTESY OF FACEBOOK

A high-profile technology company believed to be Facebook is moving forward with its plans to potentially build a massive multi-million-dollar data center in Gallatin. 

A request to change the community character area designation for 647.46 acres located north of Hartsville Pike between Roundtree Drive and Brights Lane, rezone it to industrial restrictive and annex it into the city limits will be considered by the Gallatin Planning Commission next month, according to the city’s planning department.

In all, 809 acres of privately-owned property is being considered for the project, according to James Fenton, executive director of the Gallatin Economic Development Agency.

“We have a light industrial non-manufacturing Fortune 100 technology company that is looking at the area,” Fenton told the Gallatin News on Tuesday. “We are, as a community, trying to put the zoning in place so that we look more attractive to them.”

While Fenton said he has not been told who the company is, multiple sources involved with the site selection search have told the Gallatin News in recent months that the company is believed to be Facebook. The individuals spoke to the newspaper under the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the project, which is codenamed Woolhawk.

If approved, the development would be located next to the existing Gallatin Industrial Center, which by comparison is approximately 377 acres in size and home to more than a dozen businesses.

“We are always evaluating potential new sites as we expand our global infrastructure,” a Facebook spokesperson said Thursday. “We do not have anything to announce at this time.”

The California-based company’s decision to consider building a massive data center in the greater Nashville area were first reported on by the Nashville Business Journal earlier this year.

The project has been in the works for 32 months and could bring as many as 200 jobs to the city if the development moves forward, according to sources who spoke to the Gallatin News.

Founded in 2004, Facebook has 15 data centers either planned or already in operation globally including ones across the United States in Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Virginia, according to the company’s website. The facilities contain servers that are used to support the company’s various digital platforms such as photo and video sharing app Instagram and internet messaging service WhatsApp.

If built, Fenton said the development would provide a much-needed boost to the local economy, which has suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Any project with this potential would really help our community recover faster than most communities in Middle Tennessee from everything that is happening right now if we are able to get across the finish line,” Fenton added. “It’s just a very delicate walk to get from one end to the other.”

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