First phase of the Facebook data center in Henrico County is now operational

Nearly three years after it was announced, a data center built by social media giant Facebook has become operational in eastern Henrico County.

Company officials said Tuesday that the data center started serving online traffic a few weeks ago.

“We are very committed and happy with the selection we made. Coming to Henrico County was a great thing for us,” said Bobby Hollis, who leads global energy, environment and site selection for Facebook.

The project, comprised of five buildings totaling 2.5 million square feet of space, always had been expected to be completed in phases. The first phase, a 450,000-square-foot building, was initially scheduled to be complete in 2019. The Facebook center in Henrico is one of 12 data centers the company is either operating or developing in the U.S.

About 50 people are employed full-time at the data center itself. The company expects to hire about 200 people to work at the data center over time, Hollis said.

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