Why is Facebook Investing in Altoona? Why Now?

With more than a quarter of the world’s population logged onto Facebook, the social media giant needed the right location for its massively important (and just ‘massive’) new data centers.

These facilities – which host the billions of photos & videos shared over Facebook – have highly specific needs. For their ambitious new project, Facebook needed the right combination of: ample, affordable space, a skilled workforce, a strategic location and, since the company is committed to “green solutions,” access to clean-energy sources. However, as many technology companies are discovering, the perfect solution is rare. Few locations offer every one of these features; those that do can be impossible to find.

…But now, Facebook has found their answer.

Far from their roots in California’s Silicon Valley, Facebook has discovered the perfect home for their expansive new data centers. Right here, just east of Des Moines, in the city of Altoona.

Now, at the site of the company’s largest construction project in the world, Facebook is building Altoona’s fourth data center – a high-tech, million-square-foot facility – with plans for at least two additional buildings.

Now, the question is: Why Altoona? Why Now?

Facebook is committed to going green. Altoona’s committed to making it happen.

As one of the most energy- and water-efficient facilities in the world, the fourth Altoona Facebook data center is powered with 100-percent clean & renewable energy. Pretty cool, right? Even cooler: The building, which uses an innovative hydraulic cooling system, requires 38% less electricity and 50% less water than average data centers.

The new facility, which Wired Magazine calls “a milestone in the green data center arms race,” is powered by a wind farm in nearby Wellsburg, Iowa.

Facebook needs a skilled workforce. Altoona’s home to the right people.

To build & run their data centers, Facebook needs the right balance of 1.) skilled construction labor, and 2.) educated, technologically fluent workers. Altoona, located in the bustling Des Moines metro, has all the right talent.

Now, more than 300 people are employed at Facebook’s Altoona location (with more positions becoming available), and an average of 800 construction workers are on-site daily.

Facebook needs space (a lot of it). Altoona has room to grow.

Data centers aren’t exactly compact. The warehouses, which contain tens of thousands of servers, can be as large as a million square feet. (A football field, by comparison, is just shy of 60,000.) Naturally, they need a lot of room.

Altoona had plenty of space for Facebook’s 400-acre property, at a location that offers clean energy and a skilled workforce, as well as development-friendly local leadership and close proximity to a major city (Des Moines). And there’s room for further expansion.

Today, Altoona has more than 900 acres of available land; so, as Facebook (along with the rest of our community) continues to grow, Altoona has the space to grow with it.

Facebook is part of a greater movement. Altoona is Happening Now.

Facebook is one of Altoona’s biggest stories… but it’s only one part of a greater narrative.

Right now, the pioneers of retail, residential, manufacturing and data are joining the movement and investing in the future of Altoona. We’re growing. We’re building. We aren’t waiting for the future to happen. We’re making it happen – right here, right now, in the City of Altoona.

Now, you’re invited to join us.

Want to learn more? Click here to see what’s happening in Altoona, now.