Plans to entice Facebook to build data center in West Jordan criticized by Salt Lake County leaders

Posted at 6:50 PM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 20:50:12-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah – Facebook appears to be setting up shop in West Jordan.

The city won’t name the social media giant specifically, but plans to build a massive data center are underway. The problem is, not everyone is liking the idea.

West Jordan City Mayor Kim Rolfe is keeping tight lipped about a new tenant moving in.

“I’m sorry I can’t answer that question. I’m under a confidentiality agreement,” Rolfe said.

The city isn’t naming names, only that they’re in talks with a data center. But public records point to the well-known name, Facebook. This after the social media giant was linked to a request by Rocky Mountain Power for an expedited special renewable energy service contract for a Facebook project.

Whoever is moving in is planning to build in what’s called, Project Discus.

The company would house a 550,000-square-foot data center on a 1,700-acre piece of land.

The property is located at Old Bingham Highway to the south, and 9000 South to the north. The western border is between 7300 and 8000 Wests and the eastern border is between 6400 and 6600 Wests.

On Monday, The Taxing Entity Committee discussed the plan. They said the data center would bring in 70 to 100 high-paying jobs, and attract other businesses to the area. Over time, the business would require $185 billion in tax incentives.

“This is a great deal for the state of Utah and West Jordan City. An investment over time, over 12 years of $1.5 billion,” Rolfe said.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is questioning the tax incentives. He said the city didn’t factor in an energy tax so the company would actually get incentives to the tune of $240 million.

“I don’t care what the name of the company is or how prestigious the name might be, that is too much,” McAdams said.

McAdams is also worried about water. He said the company would use about five million gallons of water a day.

“We’re asking our residents to xeriscape. We’re asking our residents to conserve water and then we turn around in order to attract 70 jobs to this state,” the Salt Lake County mayor said.

But the city says the company typically uses less than a million gallons of water per day.

City leaders expect to vote on the plan in the next two weeks.

The new tenant is looking to move quickly. West Jordan City leaders say they plan to break ground this month.