Facebook announced on Wednesday that the social media giant is going to build its next sprawling data center in the village of Los Lunas in central New Mexico. Although there had been a lot of chatter, the entire project was very cloak-and-dagger until the final reveal.
Ken Patchett, Facebook’s director of data center operations for the west region, revealed in a post that the company will begin breaking ground on the center in October.
“The process for finding a location for a new data center takes years,” Patchett wrote, but what he didn’t add is just how much secrecy it takes. According to a thorough story in the Albuquerque Journal, Facebook’s search for the site of their next data center was a tight-lipped ordeal.
The governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, met with Facebook executives over a year ago to first discuss the proposal. Then in late June of this year, a company known only as “Greater Kudu” approached the Los Lunas Village Council with an industrial revenue bond proposal of up to $30 billion. The Council approved of what was then known only as “Project Antelope” without knowing who they were really dealing with.
Even after Facebook’s search for a data center site became public, turning into a horse race between West Jordan and Los Lunas, officials in both states still used codenames like “Project Discus” when talking about it.
Given that the data center is such a huge deal — Patchett said it will bring “thousands of new construction jobs, dozens of long-term operations jobs, and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments to New Mexico” — it’s only natural that they played this one so close to the chest. Especially given that Facebook isn’t the most transparent company in the world.
Facebook has a number of other data centers, including facilities in Prineville, Oregon; Forest City, North Carolina; Altoona, Iowa; Fort Worth, Texas; Luleå, Sweden; and Clonee, Ireland. Like the Fort Worth facility, the Los Lunas one will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy.