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Meta expands to the city of Mesa

Posted at 7:48 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 01:39:04-04

MESA — The parent company that stores data for social media giants Facebook and Instagram announced a major expansion and commitment to the City of Mesa.

Meta is expanding, adding three new buildings which will grow the massive facility off Elliot and Ellsworth to 2.5 million square feet.

Company executives gathering for an on-site announcement and construction tour with Mesa City Council members and corporate partners, Wednesday.

Meta Community Development Manager, David Williams, explains the connection between what they'll do at the data center and and how it relates to Facebook and Instagram users.

"Our data center and our teams here are going to make sure that their information is safely stored, and that they have access to everything from old cat videos, to their last year summer road trip, anytime, anywhere around the world," Williams said.

Part of the challenge of of a large data center, Williams says, is keeping the servers cool, and for the most part that takes water.

Meta uses 60% less water than normal, offsetting its use with wind.

"What's fortunate about our site here in Mesa is we are able to use fresh air from outside to cool our servers for more than half the year," Williams said.

To conserve, Meta recycles its water several times. They also give back through several programs, restoring 200 million gallons a year to the Colorado and Salt River basins. A favorable ratio according to corporate partners, SRP.

"That's more water for the systems in Arizona than it uses at the data center," said Kelly Barr, Chief Strategy, Corporate Services and Sustainability Executive at SRP. "That is very impressive and a model for how it should be," she said.

"This project is definitely an example of what you can do when you actively collaborate and bring diverse partnerships together to build a better, stronger community that embraces opportunities and supports responsible growth," she added.

Meta and SRP also partnering with the Gila River Indian Community to meet corporate parameters.

"In Arizona there is an Assured Water Supply Program that requires all new developments to prove that they have 100 years worth of water before they can develop," said Colette Moore, Planning Analyst for SRP.

"The City of Mesa has required all large industrial users to meet certain water conservation goals," Moore added. "And in this case Meta was asked to bring water with them. So partnering with SRP and our partnership with the Gila River Indian Community, we were able to sell them a water supply that was already stored in advance here in Mesa for use on this project," she said. Assuring no water is being taken from the City of Mesa and its residents.

With expansion comes jobs. The project expected to employ as many as 2,000 skilled trade workers at peak, along with 200 operational jobs once construction is complete.

"Mesa is an incredible place to set up a shop," said Mesa Mayor, John Giles.

"We're proud of our business friendly environment and our shovel ready infrastructure," he said.

"To see them come to Mesa in this very genuine and sincere way and embrace our community, and not be an entity that comes in and parachutes in for a little bit of time, and does their project and then turns their back on us, that's not what's happening here. We really, in all sincerity are anxious to express our appreciation to the way Meta has embraced our community, the way they have demonstrated a commitment to our community," Mayor Giles said.

"It’s not an accident that all of the world's best companies are having an address right along this stretch of road," the mayor added.

Meta is also donating $50,000 to the Mesa College Promise. The program gives Mesa high school graduates financial support to attend community college.

Meta's total investment in the community estimated at $1 billion.