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Huntsville to reap infrastructure, education system benefits from $750M Facebook data center expansion

The City of Huntsville recently approved a project agreement with Facebook, now officially known as Meta, which will expand the tech giant’s campus in the North Huntsville Industrial Park.

Meta currently operates two data center buildings in the Rocket City, with a third building being granted regulatory approval by the city nearly a month ago. Three additional buildings are being constructed on the campus that could be completed as soon as the end of this year.

According to Shane Davis, Huntsville’s director of Urban and Economic Development, the 250-acre expansion will create a second campus north of Meta’s current site.

“They like Huntsville and they want to continue to grow,” Davis proclaimed at a Huntsville City Council meeting in mid-December. “They like our business climate and environment and our investment into infrastructure and the workforce quality that is here.”

In a release issued on Monday by the City of Huntsville, the municipality announced that the expansion would pave the way for infrastructure enhancements and provide increased revenue for Huntsville City Schools.

Along with key road and traffic improvements, additional infrastructure enhancements include a $2.8 million sanitary sewer extension. The city noted that $2.5 million of the funding will be provided by Meta.

Davis described the funding as “a significant shot of revenue… and added growth in North Huntsville,” going on to state that the city and school system’s return on investment would be an estimated $8.1 million.

Also considered in the economic impact stemming from the expansion is the more than 1,000 construction workers who are spending their earnings at local businesses and restaurants.

The release stated that once the second campus was complete, the company’s site will span nearly 600 acres within the industrial park. The expansion, which holds a price tag of $750 million, will create 50 new jobs with a required annual wage of $80,000.

According to the city, Meta has invested $3 billion in Huntsville operations to date. The company has hired 75 employees and is in the process of hiring additional workers. Once the second campus is complete, the activity is expected to generate an extra $8-10 million for local schools.

Davis added, “When you take 27.5 mills annually of that investment and it’s going to your school system, it’s significant.”

Meta has provided over $1.9 million to city and county schools by way of partnerships with local schools and nonprofit organizations assisting underserved youth, promoting STEM education, and supporting equity and empowerment programs.

The release also noted the company’s partnership with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and its support of Girls Inc., Fantasy Playhouse and the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama.

The city council meeting during which Davis outlined the company’s expansion plans and its impact on the Huntsville community can be viewed here.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL