Meta, commonly known as Facebook, will occupy a highly anticipated data center in Kansas City’s Northland.
Known as Project Velvet, the site is about 375 acres with three data center buildings southwest of U.S. Highway 169 and NW 128th Street. Meta’s tenancy has not been publicly announced, but multiple real estate sources said they were aware of its plans.
The 375-acre site sits within the third of three data center zones in the Golden Plains Technology Park, which spans a total of 882.5 acres.
Those familiar with the project said Meta’s interest in a data center around Kansas City dates back roughly five years. Facebook had scouted possible land sites on both sides of the state line, including in Clay, Platte, Johnson and Wyandotte counties.
“Site selection is a multi-year, complex process that takes a number of factors into account,” Meta said on a company website dedicated to its data centers. “We look for shovel-ready sites with good access to fiber and renewable energy resources, a pool of talent for both construction and operations staff and good community partners.”
The precise scope of Meta’s data center, including the company’s total capital investment and planned new jobs, is not yet clear. The company declined to comment at this time.
Project Velvet would become Meta’s 20th known data center project globally. The company has built or shared plans for 15 data centers across the U.S. — most recently last month, with an announcement in Kuna, Idaho — plus Denmark, Ireland, Singapore and Sweden, its website shows.
Those U.S. projects have ranged from $750 million to $2.5 billion in investment, with 100 to 400 jobs supported.
Meta would be the first multibillion-dollar “FAANG” company to occupy the site. FAANG refers to five major U.S. technology companies: Meta, Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Netflix Inc. and Alphabet Inc.
Through Velvet Tech Services LLC, Meta won approval in October for a 1.88 million-square-foot final master planned development within Zone 3 of the broader 882-acre Golden Plains Technology Park. That LLC, an affiliate of CSC Global Financial Markets, in July 2020 acquired the underlying land from Diode Ventures.
The City Council in April 2021 approved up to $8.2 billion in incentives over 37 years for the entirety of Golden Plains Technology Park — including abatements of real and personal property taxes, plus a sales tax exemption on construction materials, for each data center phase. Meta’s possible share of the incentives was not immediately available.
In December, Velvet Tech Services filed for building permits totaling $517.5 million in connection with its project, which remain under review.
In early February, the City Council authorized its water services department to execute agreements with Velvet Tech Services over water and wastewater services, plus a phased water main extension for the data center site.
In a committee meeting that month, James Bowers, a Rouse Frets White Goss Gentile Rhodes PC attorney representing Velvet Tech Services, said an initial water main extension would allow for the development of Project Velvet’s first two buildings, shown in the approved plans as a 601,955-square-foot data center and 50,000-square-foot receiving building. A second-phase extension then could service two more 601,955-square-foot data centers just east.
In comparing Project Velvet’s anticipated water use to the city’s top 10 water users, Bowers said the data center is projected to use about one-fifth as much water as the current number 10 user, the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, which uses about one-fifth as much water as the top user, Lee’s Summit.
“We will be considerably down the list of the users that impact the system,” he said.
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