FOREST CITY, N.C. — Facebook has announced plans to construct a new $450 million data center in Rutherford County. According to local reports, the social media giant paid $3.1 million to the county for 135 acres located just off of U.S. Highway 74 in Forest City, which is located about 65 miles west of Charlotte. The site is near a county-owned corporate park that caters to data centers.

The groundbreaking took place Friday for the new facility, and construction is expected to take 18 months to complete. The project will create more than 250 construction jobs as well as 35 to 45 full-time and contract jobs once the data center is operational. The project is being designed to LEED-Gold standards. Its sustainable features include cooling and power management technologies that reduce electricity usage as well as efficient software that requires less computing power. Data centers are known as one of the heaviest commercial users of electricity.

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue stated in a prepared release that the state has been working with Facebook for approximately a year to bring together the land, utilities and, most importantly, incentives to make the deal possible. The governor's office did not release details about the incentives Facebook received, but local reports indicate that the company could receive up to $11.4 million from Rutherford County if it meets its investment goals.

Facebook completes a trio of large data centers that are coming to western North Carolina. Google has pledged to invest up to $600 million for a new data in Lenoir, and Apple will spend more than $1 billion for its new data center in Maiden.

— Coleman Wood

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