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Facebook comes to Kansas City: Meta selects Northland for $800 million data center

Rendering of the Meta Kansas City data center at Golden Plains Technology Park.
Meta
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Rendering of the Meta Kansas City data center at Golden Plains Technology Park.

Kansas City officials announced Thursday that a 1 million-square-foot Meta facility will be constructed at the Golden Plains Technology Park. The company is expected to invest more than $800 million to build out the complex, and will hire up to 100 operational jobs.

A new hyperscale data center is expected to be operational in Kansas City by 2024 — bringing global social media and tech giant Meta to the metro and making good on promises that a Northland development could be the next great national technology hub.

The Kansas City Area Development Council and its partners announced the news Thursday at Union Station, detailing plans for the nearly 1 million-square-foot Meta facility at the Golden Plains Technology Park — a 5.5 million-square-foot data center campus at the corner of I-435 and U.S. 169 in Kansas City, Missouri (east of Kansas City International Airport).

Meta is the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

“Meta is excited to call Kansas City our new home. It stands out with so much to offer — good access to infrastructure and fiber, a strong pool of talent for both construction and operations, and more than anything, great community partners,” said Darcy Nothnagle, director of community and economic development, Meta. “Meta is committed to being a good neighbor and investing in the long-term vitality of the region for years to come.”

The company is expected to invest more than $800 million over the next several years to build out the complex with the development supporting up to 100 operational jobs and more than 1,300 jobs at peak construction.

Efforts to draw Meta to Kansas City began more than three and a half years ago, led by Jill McCarthy, senior vice president of corporate attraction for the KCADC.

“We’re proud to welcome Meta to Kansas City for this historic, cutting-edge development that will positively impact our state’s economy for years to come,” said Gov. Mike Parson, R-Missouri. “The Show-Me State stands out as a rising technology hub due to our strategic location, skilled workforce, and prime business climate. This unprecedented investment signals Missouri is open for business, and that our state is a prime destination for high-tech leaders and innovators alike.”

Meta’s Kansas City location will be one of the most sustainable data centers in the world and will add additional renewable energy to the region’s local grid, according to the KCADC. The facility is expected to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and will aim to be LEED Gold level certified.

Meta’s Kansas City data center will use 32% less energy and will be 80% more water-efficient on average than the industry standard.

“It’s an exciting day in Kansas City as we celebrate Meta’s investment in our community — yet another example of Kansas City’s growing influence in the technology sector,” said Quinton Lucas, mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. “We look forward to growing this partnership and creating new jobs.”

As a central U.S. location, Kansas City is a midpoint that provides improved network connectivity between coastal data centers.

The Kansas City region offers more security with less risk of natural disasters and other threats than many other sites, officials said. The Midwest also comes with competitive energy prices and more options to power facilities using renewable energy resources.

“Meta’s data center at Golden Plains Technology Park is a significant economic development investment and win for the Kansas City region. We know the company had a choice regarding where to site this major project, and we’re proud to be an essential partner to help make this a reality,” said David Campbell, president and CEO, Evergy. “We look forward to delivering clean, safe and reliable energy to Meta’s facility, supporting one of the most sustainable data centers in the world.”

The Kansas City area is the third fastest-growing tech market in the U.S., and among the top large metros for its number of tech jobs per capita. In addition to being ranked one of the best startup cities in the U.S., the KC region has more than 102,000 technology jobs and more than 3,900 established tech firms.

The pool of available talent within IT (67,800-plus) is strong because of the concentration of financial services, telecommunications, data processing, software and engineering firms in the Kansas City area, according to the KCADC.

“KC is the most connected region in the U.S. with more than 5.5 million miles of fiber deployed. This infrastructure, coupled with a dynamic and robust talent pool, provides Meta the resources it needs for long-term success in our market,” said Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the KCADC. “Meta’s selection of KC, joining many other global tech brands in our region, puts a spotlight on our thriving tech industry.”

“The region’s new state-of-the-art single terminal airport opening in March 2023 and our collaborative business community make KC a top location of choice for other tech companies seeking growth,” he continued.

This story was originally published on Startland News, a fellow member of the KC Media Collective.

Tommy Felts is editor-in-chief for Startland News, a Kansas City-based nonprofit newsroom that uses storytelling to elevate the region’s startup community of entrepreneurs, innovators, hustlers, creatives and risk-takers.
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