(DES MOINES) Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today joined Altoona's Mayor Skip Conkling in officially welcoming Facebook to Iowa. The social networking company, which helps more than 1 billion people around the world connect and share with each other, announced that it will build a new, state-of-the-art data center in Altoona.
"Today's announcement further solidifies Iowa's position as a destination for tech companies from major data center operations like Facebook's to the innovative start-ups we continue to see popping up around our state," said Gov. Branstad. "Our productive workforce and our overall cost of doing business help us to win great projects like this."
Lt. Gov. Reynolds added, "We are so proud to add Facebook to our list of world-renowned tech companies located in Iowa. Facebook's investment continues sending the signal that Iowa is open for business and this administration is committed to attracting business and jobs here in all economic sectors."
Facebook will invest a minimum of $299.5 million in the project, which is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs and dozens of full-time operations jobs. The company evaluated several other sites before choosing the Iowa location.
The first phase of the project will result in a 476,000-square foot data center that will be among the most advanced and energy efficient of its kind. The data center will feature an innovative outdoor-air cooling system and the latest in Open Compute Project server designs, and it will be built to LEED Gold standards.
"I welcome Facebook to the Altoona community," said Altoona Mayor Skip Conkling. "Quality companies and development make our city and state an even greater place to do business and to live and play. I want to thank all parties for their endeavors in securing this project."
Earlier today the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board approved $18 million in tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs program to Facebook to create at least 31 new jobs at a qualifying wage of $23.12 per hour. The project will have a minimum capital investment of $299.5 million. Local incentives from the city of Altoona were also approved today.
"We're thrilled to become a part of the Altoona community, and especially appreciative of all the partners who helped make this project happen," said Jay Parikh, vice president of infrastructure engineering for Facebook. "Facebook's mission is to connect the world. Thanks to Iowa, we're building the global infrastructure to bring the next billion people online."
The 194-acre site selected in Altoona could accommodate up to two additional data center buildings that may be constructed in future phases of the project.
Other elected officials weighed in on the announcement today.
"I regret that I cannot be there in person today to join with Mayor Conkling, City Council members, and officials from Facebook to welcome the news of Facebook's intention to expand into Iowa," said U.S. Senator Tom Harkin. "We have long known that Iowa is a great place to do business. Altoona in particular has been very focused on providing quality infrastructure at a fair cost to attract companies like Facebook, which add to our continued economic growth. So I welcome this announcement and I look forward to the improvements it will generate for our entire state."
"America knows that Iowa is one of the tech-friendliest states in the country with an outstanding workforce to match, and Facebook's announcement today firmly confirms that fact," said U.S. Congressman Tom Latham. "This new data center is unprecedented in scope and will bring jobs and economic development to Altoona, as well as further Iowa's reputation as a top-notch place to innovate and do business. I congratulate the good people of Altoona for being a part of this exciting project, commend Facebook for pursuing it, and look forward to seeing the immense benefits it brings."