Facebook cold storage

Facebook has 15 data centers either planned or already in operation globally. COURTESY OF FACEBOOK INC.

Facebook is believed to be considering building a large-scale data center in Gallatin, according to multiple sources familiar with the social media giant’s site selection search.

The individuals, who spoke to the Gallatin News under the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the project, said the potential development would be located on at least 500 acres of privately owned property in the area of Hartsville Pike and Brights Lane, directly east of the city’s existing industrial center.

“We are always evaluating potential new sites as we expand our global infrastructure, but we do not have anything to announce at this time,” Facebook spokeswoman Melanie Roe told the Gallatin News in an email last week.

The California-based company’s plans to build a massive data center in the greater Nashville area were first reported on by the Nashville Business Journal last month.

Sources told the Gallatin News that there could be as many as 200 jobs if the development moves forward. 

Founded in 2004, Facebook has 15 data centers either planned or already in operation globally including ones in Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Virginia, according to the company’s website. The facilities are filled with servers that support the social media company’s various products including photo and video sharing app Instagram along with internet messaging service WhatsApp.

James Fenton, executive director of the Gallatin Economic Development Agency, declined to comment about any potential unannounced new developments in the city.

“Gallatin currently has several developments under consideration, and we have signed non-disclosure agreements with all of them,” Fenton said in a prepared statement. “Out of respect for those developments and site consultants who value our professional integrity, we are unable to comment on any speculation.”

In recent years, officials with the city’s economic development agency have focused their recruitment efforts towards bringing more technology companies and corporate offices to Gallatin.

In November, New York-based technology startup Archer Datacenters broke ground on a multi-million-dollar data center in the city’s industrial center. The 55,000-square-foot facility is expected to open later this year and will be located on 30 acres across from Beretta U.S.A.’s firearms manufacturing plant.

Officials with Archer began looking at the Nashville area for the project after conducting a nationwide study of emerging data center markets. Among the factors they found most appealing were the area’s rapid growth of data intensive industries along with an educated workforce and ample access to economically competitive renewable energy.

During the site selection search process, both Fenton and Mayor Paige Brown said many of the potential projects operate under a code name, which keeps the identity of the company a secret.

“I have signed several nondisclosure agreements over the years, but I can tell you that I am not aware of any company names associated with any agreements,” Brown told the Gallatin News. “We would be delighted though if (Facebook) came here.”

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