It’s Time To Bid Farewell To That Facebook Data Center

As a leader in energy development, New Mexico is an ideal fit for the new facility, which is planned to be powered with 100 percent renewable energy.

You know that couple that’s on again/off again and every time you talk to them their relationship is a different status and eventually you just stop caring if they hate each other or are getting married? That’s how I feel about West Jordan and Facebook.

Last we heard, West Jordan had said “Baby, come back,” after calling it quits on the Facebook data center negotiations just twelve hours prior. Then we didn’t hear much for a few weeks, until recently when a handful of New Mexico politicians released the following statement:

“We welcome Facebook to New Mexico and are proud to help secure this new investment in our state’s future. Facebook will bring innovative opportunities for our economy and much needed jobs. As a leader in energy development, New Mexico is an ideal fit for the new facility, which is planned to be powered with 100 percent renewable energy.”

So that’s that, then. It’s over. Facebook said, “Boy, bye” and committed to the state who, let’s be honest, always treated her better. We’re talking promises of no property taxes for 30 years, a $10 million subsidy, and sales tax rebates worth $1.6 million a year. Utah was just never ready to say “I do” to the $40 mil tax incentives.

Later in the day, Facebook released a statement of their own from Ken Patchett Director of Data Center Operations, that I have to say, felt a little pointed. Read for yourself:

“We’re thrilled to announce that our next data center will be built in the village of Los Lunas, New Mexico!”

“The process for finding a location for a new data center takes years, and it’s an important one because these communities become our homes. In our search, we look for great partnerships with the local community, a strong pool of local talent for construction and long-term operations staff, and access to clean and renewable energy. We found all of this in Los Lunas, and we’re excited to join the community there.”

“Our Los Lunas facility will be one of the most advanced, energy-efficient data centers in the world. It will feature the latest in our Open Compute Project hardware designs, and it will be cooled using indirect evaporative cooling systems that emphasize efficiency, while protecting our servers from the frequent dust storms that occur in New Mexico.”

“The data center will also be powered by 100% clean and renewable energy, thanks to the new solar and wind energy that we’re working with PNM Resources to bring to the New Mexico grid. By powering our data center with renewable energy versus natural gas, we also reduce the water usage associated with the data center by 30 percent. The new solar and wind farms also bring additional jobs and investments to the region.”

“The Los Lunas Data Center will support thousands of new construction jobs, dozens of long-term operations jobs, and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments to New Mexico. You can read more about the impact our data center investments have had so far in Oregon, North Carolina, and Sweden. For us though, our project goes beyond just economic impact — we want to do what we can to help the village of Los Lunas and the state of New Mexico continue to thrive.”

Mic drop.

New Mexico and Facebook’s gushing about one another has some in our state reaching for the ice cream and turning up the Adele. “We were hopeful that a revised agreement could be reached,” says West Jordan Mayor Kim Rolfe. Rolfe says political theatrics are to blame for the relationship’s demise. “We believe that opponents of the project have every right to state their points and opinions, but the arguments should be factual,” Rolfe says. “This standard was not met in this matter.”

Meanwhile, others in our State are going to discotheque wearing “Single and Ready to Mingle” t-shirts. “[This deal] failed our test of being a good deal for the taxpayers of Salt Lake County, especially when we saw it would cost about $3 million per job,” says Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. “That was just too much for too little benefit.”

Honestly, I’m just glad we can all get some closure, you know? It’s time to move on. Maybe take some time to find ourselves. Travel a little. Get a massage. Another data center will come along. And we’ll just know when it’s meant to be.

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