Facebook DeKalb

(Photo provided)

Our sister station WLBK reports that Facebook is coming to DeKalb.

That’s Gov. JB Pritzker announcing that the company behind the data center under construction on the southern edge of DeKalb is the social media giant Facebook.

Until Tuesday morning, the data center was known to the public only as Project Ventus. The 900-thousand-square-foot DeKalb facility being built at Peace and Gurler roads will be one of only 12 Facebook data centers in the US and 16 in the world that handle the data for the tech company’s two-and-a-half billion monthly users.

Facebook Vice President of Data Center Strategy Rachel Peterson says data from those users will be coming through DeKalb.

Once operational, Facebook says the DeKalb data center is expected to employ around 100 people. Before then, Facebook Construction Project Manager Stefan Kasan says there will be hundreds of construction jobs.

To help attract the data center to DeKalb, the project was given a 55 percent property tax break for 20 years.

Even with the tax break, city officials have said the tax revenue from the data center over the next two decades will exceed that of the Target warehouse, Nestlé, 3M, Goodyear and Panduit combined. The data center campus will span 500 acres. County records show more than $40 million was paid for the farmland.

Facebook says the facility will be one of the most energy- and water-efficient data centers in the world. Company officials say it will be powered by 100-percent renewable energy sourced from Illinois, 80 percent more water efficient than the average data center and is expected to be LEED Gold certified once completed.

DeKalb Leaders React

DeKalb city leaders hope the link that’s being formed between the city and Facebook is just the beginning of tech companies choosing DeKalb as their home.

That’s DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith describing his reaction after learning Facebook is the company building the 800-million-dollar data center near Peace and Gurler roads. City Manager Bill Nicklas says DeKalb and the tech company are now linked.

And Mayor Smith says being linked to the name Facebook will have a positive impact on anyone looking at the city of DeKalb.

Nicklas says Facebook’s decision sends a loud message to the region and the world that DeKalb is a great place for tech companies to do business. And Nicklas believes Facebook picked DeKalb for more than just the infrastructure that he believes they could’ve found elsewhere.

Along with the new tax revenue and jobs and potential to attract other companies, Nicklas expects there will be other yet-to-be-known benefits of Facebook picking DeKalb.

The Facebook data center is the second large project to be announced for the Chicago West Business Park in less than six months. Two buildings have gone up north of Gurler Road for the Ferrara Candy Company’s distribution center announced in late January.

The Facebook data center - which will include data halls, office buildings and at least one substation - is being built the other side of Gurler Road. Nicklas expects a grand opening for the data center in about two years.