Will occupy data center buildings
A technology giant is planning to occupy a piece of the Northland.
Meta, which is much more commonly known as Facebook, will become a tenant in a highly anticipated data center southwest of US Hwy. 169 and NW 128th Street. The property is in a technology park that straddles the Clay and Platte County line and some of the project lies within the Platte County R-3 School District.
News of Meta’s plan was first reported by the Kansas City Business Journal (KCBJ) in recent days. In a March 10 article, the Business Journal acknowledged Meta’s tenancy has not been publicly announced but that multiple real estate sources said they were aware of its plans.
The Facebook (Meta) project is known as Project Velvet and is on a site of about 375 acres, with three data center buildings, according to the Business Journal.
“A little less than half of the Meta development lies within the Platte County R-3 School District, the balance of the development is in Smithville,” says Mike Reik, R-3 superintendent.
“The development is in a Chapter 100 and taxing entities will receive 25% of the tax revenue,” Reik added.
“The Meta development alone will be a significant financial benefit to Platte County School District,” Reik remarked. “Additional ancillary development is expected.”
In addition to the Meta project, Reik told The Landmark there is also a power plant adjacent to the development that is entirely in the Platte County R-3 School District and will be fully on the tax rolls.
“We are still working with the developers on what the specific financial benefit will be, including the power plant, but I think it’s safe to say this development will be considerable with very little service demand,” Reik told The Landmark.
In December, Velvet Tech Services filed for building permits with Kansas City. Those building permits, which remain under review, total $517.5 million in connection with its project, according to the Business Journal.
The Journal said the 375-acre site is within the third of three data center zones in the Golden Plains Technology Park, which spans a total of 882 acres.
KCBJ says the scope of Meta’s data center is not yet clear. It is not yet known the company’s total planned capital investment or planned new jobs, and the company declined to comment.
Past projects for Meta inside the United States have ranged from investments of $750 million to $2.5 billion, with 100 to 400 jobs, according to the Business Journal.
Project Velvet would become Meta’s 20th known data center across the globe. The company has built or shared plans for 15 such data centers across the United States, most recently announcing one in Kuna, Idaho.
Last fall, the Kansas City Business Journal says Meta won approval for a 1.88 million square ft. final master planned development within Zone 3 of the broader 882-acre Golden Plains Technology Park. That approval was won by Meta through Velvet Tech Services LLC, an affiliate of CSC Global Financial Markets. Velvet Tech Services in July of 2020 acquired the underlying land from Diode Ventures, according to the Business Journal.
The Kansas City Council has approved up to $8.2 billion in incentives over 37 years for the entirety of the Golden Plains Technology Park. Incentives include 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, the Kansas City Business Journal reported.
The project would be a major consumer of water. In early February, the Kansas City Council authorized its water services department to execute agreements with Velvet Tech Services over water and sewer services, plus a phased water main extension to the data center site, according to the Business Journal.
An initial water main extension would allow fro the development of Project Velvet’s first two buildings, shown in the approved plans as a 601,995 sq. ft. data center and 50,000 sq. ft. receiving building. A second-phase extension then could service two more 601,995 sq. ft. data centers just east, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.
In a water services committee meeting in February, an attorney representing Velvet Tech Services said the data center is projected to use about one-fifth as much water as the city’s current number 10 user, which is the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, which uses one-fifth as much water as the top user, which is Lee’s Summit.
“We’ll be considerably down the list of users that impact the system,” attorney James Bowers is quoted as having said in that February meeting, according to the Business Journal.