When Kevin Zach and his wife, Jackie, bought their house in a mostly quiet area south of Omaha in 2012, they knew nearby development was inevitable. Growth was creeping westward. Nebraska Highway 50 was poised to boom. But did they imagine a giant, nearly 1 million-square-foot Facebook data center going up at their doorstep?
“Absolutely not,” said Zach, who lives on about 10 acres near 150th Street and Schram Road — right across the street from the Facebook data center site. However, he says, the experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s been pretty phenomenal to watch what’s unfolded since April,” he said.
In the roughly eight months since Facebook broke ground on 134 acres off Highway 50 and Capehart Road, two of the data center’s buildings have popped up and its valuation continues to climb.
So far, the data center is on track to cost at least $435 million, according to Papillion building permits. It’s Facebook’s sixth data center in the United States and its ninth worldwide.
From a bird’s-eye view, when completed, the data center will resemble the letter H, with two longer data center buildings connected by an administrative building in the middle.
One 450,000-square-foot data center building as well as the 70,000-square-foot administrative building are on track to be weathered-in by the end of the month, said Melanie Roe, a Facebook representative. This will allow work to continue through the winter. That data center building is expected to be operational in 2020, she said. Steel beams for the second 450,000-square-foot data center building will go up by early January.
About 750 people are on-site every workday, Roe said. That’s a lot of new daytime neighbors for the Zachs, who used to see one or two cars drive by their house per day, if that.
But remarkably, the Zachs don’t hear much of the construction commotion from their house. Everyone has been respectful, Zach said. And Facebook’s general contractor, Turner Construction, has “gone above and beyond as neighbors.”
“Every day is interesting,” he said, “when you see the amount of workers that are headed out there and the scale of it.”
Zach works in information technology, which means he knows a thing or two about data centers. For instance, it’s a secured area. They’re usually nicely landscaped and the buildings aren’t right up next to the road, he said. Sure, it’ll be massive. But those other things mean he isn’t too worried about his new neighbor.
“We don’t have any immediate plans to move.”
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