Meta has been revealed as the company behind a large planned data center campus in El Paso, Texas.
Details are still sparse, but Meta said it aims to invest around $800 million in the first phase of the project. There could be up to five phases of development, each totaling around 800,000 sq ft (74,320 sqm).
The company seeks to acquire the land for around $8.5 million and gain property tax abatement and rebates totaling more than $100 million.
City officials approved the incentives on staff recommendation. Further incentives could be granted on future phases.
Under current agreements, Meta has until April 2024 to buy the land -situated in the northeast of the city, north of Stan Roberts Sr. Ave. and west of US Highway 54 - with possible date extensions.
"Meta is a huge name in the IT (Information Technology) sector. This really puts El Paso on the map, and creates a broader [local] technological ecosystem," Elizabeth Triggs, El Paso's economic development director, told the city council.
The magnitude of a possible five-phase campus "is like nothing we've ever seen here," Triggs told the El Paso Times. "It will transform the property tax base by shifting the property tax burden away from residential taxpayers."
El Paso Electric plans to file a rate request for the proposed Meta data center in the future. El Paso Water told the board that the data center will use an air-cooled system that needs water only when the ambient air gets too hot.
“The City of El Paso is thrilled at the steps taken to establish Meta’s Hyperscale Data Center that will completely transform our community,” said Mayor Oscar Leeser.
"Our region has the workforce, infrastructure, and business climate to support the needs of data center operators. We look forward to the city supporting the final stages of this project.”
According to the El Paso Times, the land was previously acquired by the city from the El Paso Public Service Board more than a decade ago and set aside as a possible site for an automotive manufacturing project that never materialized. There was more talk of a potential manufacturing user for the site around 2019, but nothing came to fruition.
El Paso, located in the west of Texas and close to the borders of Mexico and New Mexico, is not traditionally a major data center hub.
Dallas, Austin, and sometimes Houston, all to the east of El Paso, are traditionally more popular with data center developers in Texas. Phoenix in Arizona, to the west of El Paso, is also a large data center market.
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