Facebook appears to “like” New Albany.
The company announced Feb. 6 its first two data-center facilities are online at 1 Community Circle in the New Albany International Business Park and it intends to add two more buildings to the campus, bringing the total number of planned facilities to five.
Bobby Hollis, director of global energy, environment and site selection for Facebook, said the social-media company’s plans would increase the size of the campus a total of nearly 2.5 million square feet.
When completed, it will represent an investment of over $1 billion in New Albany and Ohio, he said.
"We look forward to continuing this strong partnership for many years to come," Hollis said.
The built-out data-center campus, which is south of state Route 161 and east of Beech Road, will employ more than 150 people, according to Facebook.
About 50 employees are at the campus right now, Facebook spokeswoman Melanie Roe said.
As of Feb. 6, buildings 1 and 2 are now online, said Mike Reffle, director of data-center operations for Facebook.
In April, the company announced plans for a third building on the 340-acre campus, he said.
Building 3 will be completed next year, Reffle said, and the next two should be finished in the next few years, he said.
The completion of the first two data-center complexes comes almost three years after Facebook announced its plans in August 2017.
Since then, the company has made its local presence felt in more ways than construction of the massive data-center complex.
The company recently gave $250,000 to New Albany for the city’s Rose Run revitalization project, Reffle said.
The project focused on Rose Run Park, which is part of the Rose Run stream corridor that runs mostly parallel to Dublin-Granville Road through New Albany. It included construction of a 34-foot bridge and promenade that connects the New Albany Plain-Local School District campus on the north side of Dublin-Granville to the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Market Square to the south.
Facebook also provided a $190,000 grant to the Licking Heights Local School District for the science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics curriculum, Reffle said.
Facebook’s data-center campus is within the Licking Heights district boundaries, said Superintendent Philip Wagner.
Wagner said the district is “very appreciative” of Facebook’s grant.
The Facebook project represents the cooperation of many people and organizations, said Gov. Mike DeWine.
Innovation also is key to Ohio’s prosperity, DeWine said.
New Albany Mayor Sloan Spalding said a strong state and regional partnership helped bring the project to fruition.
In addition, Facebook's priorities of connecting and building community engagement mirror the city's values, Spalding said.
"I can't wait to see what we can do together in the future," he said.
New Albany spokesman Scott McAfee said Facebook's long-term commitment to New Albany and central Ohio is an example of the region’s business potential.
"We're very excited that they're here and they're opening their doors today," he said.
McAfee said Facebook has committed to provide $700,000 in revenue to the city in 2021.
That total is a combination of income taxes, property taxes, New Albany Community Authority fees and a direct payment from the company, if necessary, to meet the $700,000 amount, he said.