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Facebook Brings Data Center To Eagle Mountain In Exchange For Tax Breaks

Gorodenkoff via iStock

A new Facebook data center is coming to Eagle Mountain in western Utah County, but not everyone is excited about the plan.

Facebook will build a nearly one million-square-foot data center in the suburban enclave west of Utah’s tech hub, Silicon Slopes. A data center is essentially a warehouse of computer servers where internet data is stored and accessed.

Tom Westmoreland is the mayor of Eagle Mountain. He said this development will mean a lot for their largely residential city.

"Really, our biggest business establishment is our grocery store," Westmoreland said. 

The server farm is expected to create around 40 full-time jobs, plus temporary construction work. Another reason Westmoreland is excited is because Facebook first has to invest $100 million in road, water and electricity infrastructure up front. The property taxes for what is currently a vacant piece of land will also increase significantly.  

In exchange, the tech giant will get $150 million in tax breaks over several decades. That’s a trade-off that Brigham Young University economist Scott Condie isn’t excited about. Condie lives in nearby Pleasant Grove.

"Right now Eagle Mountain seems like it’s out there and the land is not being used for anything," he said. "That won’t always be true." 

Condie said in an area with fast-growing real estate, a data center may not be the best long-term use. He said with a relatively generous deal for Facebook compared to those in other states, this puts Eagle Mountain in a weaker position when trying to recruit more data centers in the future.

Construction on the new Utah County facility broke ground this month.

Erik Neumann is a radio producer and writer. A native of the Pacific Northwest, his work has appeared on public radio stations and in magazines along the West Coast. He received his Bachelor's Degree in geography from the University of Washington and a Master's in Journalism from UC Berkeley. Besides working at KUER, he enjoys being outside in just about every way possible.
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