Meta Platforms – commonly known as Facebook, announced it will build an $800 million data center in Kuna. It’s the culmination of a three-year project to land the large Silicon Valley social media company.
“Meta’s $800 million investment in Kuna will produce high-quality jobs for Kuna and the Treasure Valley,” Idaho Dept. of Commerce Director Tom Kealey said. “It will bring over a hundred operational jobs to Kuna.”
The data center will service Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and other Meta-owned brands.
Kealey said Idaho won the competitive process over a number of sites. He said a variety of factors played into the location decision.
“It’s an example of our grit and spirit,” he said. “Idaho has many advantages over other locations,” Kealey said. “Idaho’s unique and attractive business climate, talent and workforce and ready access to infrastructure and renewable energy are key factors to Meta’s location.”
Last year, the Idaho Legislature passed – and Gov. Brad Little signed – a large package of tax breaks and incentives for data centers, which Kealey said was “targeted” and alluded to it helping land Meta.
“It’s the community partners that really make the difference,” Meta’s Global Data Center Community and Economic Development Director Darcy Nothnagle said. “Our data center here will be part of our global infrastructure that brings our apps and services to billions across the world. It’s important to us that the impact of our data center isn’t just felt online. We want to make sure we are impacting the community positively.”
Power. Water. Sewer.
Nothnagle said after the data center opens, Meta would launch a grant program for schools and other community organizations. She said Meta worked with Idaho Power to add new green energy to the power grid, and that the company would “add more water than we consume,” and bring additional water to the watershed, though Nothnagle didn’t specify how this would be accomplished.
Nothnagle said the “cool Idaho air” would cool the center for half the year.
“Kuna became a bedroom community,” Mayor Joe Stear said. “We didn’t have a freeway running through us. It wasn’t a great place to put giant businesses. We have worked very long and hard to figure out how to create an industrial zone and industrial park that works for the city. Meta has made that possible.”
“The creation of new jobs is of utmost importance in a community growing as rapidly as the Treasure Valley,” said Senator Jim Risch. “The opening of this new data center in Kuna will provide hardworking Idahoans with good-paying jobs and new opportunities to fuel Idaho’s continued success.”
Meta did not outline how much the additional jobs would pay, or what types of roles would be available.
Stear said Meta will build an expandable sewer plant with more capacity than it needs to help bring more business to the area. It promised to invest $50 million in a new water and sewer system for the city, which Kuna will own and operate and use for other sewer customers.
The data center would be about 960,000 square feet in size. While large, it pales in comparison to the large Nampa facility for Amazon which stands at 2.561 million square feet. Construction would break ground next fall according to the Idaho Dept. of Commerce and run through 2025.
The data center will be near the intersection of Cole Rd. and Kuna Mora Rd. in what a Facebook representative termed “East Kuna.” The spokesperson confirmed the site is on the 14000 block of S. Cole Rd. The site is a significant distance from Downtown Kuna – and is closer to the contiguous portion of Boise than it is Kuna. Kuna has a large area of impact that extends far beyond the city’s current border and sweeps to the south of Boise.
Lisa Holland’s role
Leaders lauded the efforts of Lisa Holland, Kuna’s Economic Development Director who died in a car crash last year.
“Lisa didn’t give up. She saw the advantages Kuna could provide,” Kealey said. “She said ‘Just get their representatives to drive through Kuna’ and she would stand on the side of the road promoting Kuna.”
Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last fall that Facebook would change its name to Meta to emphasize a new focus on a virtual hybrid world it calls the metaverse.
BoiseDev’s Gretchen Parsons contributed reporting.