• Facebook seems to be liking 146-acre Sarpy site for new data center

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    February 15, 2017
    • By Hailey Konnath / World-Herald staff writer

      Sarpy County may have snagged another big name.

      Facebook, it appears, is considering a site south of Papillion for a new data center. Although the social media giant hasn’t confirmed any plans, public documents submitted to the City of Papillion suggest Facebook is behind a massive data center in the works for 146 acres on Nebraska Highway 50 and Capehart Road.

    • Facebook is “always evaluating potential new sites” for data centers, a spokeswoman said Monday afternoon. By doing site work upfront, the company can move fast when it needs more capacity, she said.“But we’re not committing to anything right now,” she said.

      The project has already gone through multiple layers of approval from Papillion. The company has also negotiated the purchase of the land it would build on. Those property owners weren’t told who was buying their land.

    • The name listed on the data center applications is “Raven Northbrook LLC,” a company created to keep the identity of the actual company secret. Corporation Service Company, a Delaware-based firm, created the LLC.

    • But in an application for the out-of-state LLC to operate in Nebraska, the address of the principal office is listed as 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, California — the address of Facebook’s headquarters.

    • Additionally, another address listed in applications is the office of Fenwick & West LLP, a law firm that has represented Facebook in a number of acquisitions and moves.
      The Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation declined to confirm that Facebook was behind the data center. Development corporation policy prevents staff from commenting on ongoing projects.

      Andrew Rainbolt, executive director of the development corporation, said the company he’s been working with is still considering other sites around the country.

      “We’re hopeful everything gets finalized,” he said, “but we don’t know exactly when.”

      ​If all goes to plan, the data center could see a groundbreaking this spring, Rainbolt said.

      Should Facebook select the Sarpy County site, it’ll be in good company. Yahoo, Fidelity, Cabela’s and Travelers also operate data centers in the county.

    • The data center would involve four 610,000-square-foot buildings east and west of Highway 50, just north of Capehart Road. A tunnel under the highway would connect the two campuses. It would operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The largest work shift would involve less than 150 employees, according to the project’s final plat.

      The development corporation has been working with the company on the project for a year.

      Facebook also built a $300 million data center in Altoona, Iowa, in 2015.
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