Fayetteville approves development agreement for 612-acre QTS Data Center on Hwy. 54 West

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Portrait of Fayetteville City Council members. (L-R) Niyah Glover (mayor pro tem), Joe Clark, Mayor Edward Johnson, Scott Stacy, Darryl Langford and Rich Hoffman. Photo/City of Fayetteville website.
Portrait of Fayetteville City Council members. (L-R) Niyah Glover (mayor pro tem), Joe Clark, Mayor Edward Johnson, Scott Stacy, Darryl Langford and Rich Hoffman. Photo/City of Fayetteville website.

After last week’s vote, the huge mid-county data center construction project faces no roadblocks from the Fayetteville City Council.

The council on June 15 unanimously voted “to adopt the Development Agreement between the City of Fayetteville and National Acquisition Company, LLC for the QTS Data Center located at 1435 Highway 54 West.”

The conceptual site plan for the QTS Data Center tract was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 2, earlier this year.

Here’s what’s coming:

Already being clear-cut are parts of the 612 vacant acres bordered by Ga. Highway 54 West, Tyrone Road and Flat Creek Trail.

According to city staff, “At buildout the property may encompass approximately 7,000,000 square feet of data center storage facilities, supporting office space and associated substations.”

That’s 7 million (with an “M”) square feet on what has been undeveloped pasturelands and woodlands in the geographic center of Fayette County.

Staff further specifies, “All internal roadways, parking areas, sidewalks, signage and landscaping within the development will be private and maintained by the Developer and/or a common property owners association. … The installation of all utilities, including but not limited to electric, telephone, internet and gas shall be underground.”

So what can you expect from a large data center in the center of the county?

First of all, you won’t see much activity outside the buildings. Inside the buildings are  computer processors to run applications, the storage capabilities to store and process data, and lots of cooling equipment to handle the heat generated by millions of computer chips and motors. And generally speaking, you won’t be able to visit or see inside these structures to ensure security of the equipment and stored data. Think of a bank vault for hard drives.

Nearby neighbors may hear the sound of cooling fans and air conditioning units, as well as generators that run during power outages or scheduled test cycles.

And after construction ends, you won’t see many employees. There will be some technicians, but you are talking dozens, not hundreds.

7 COMMENTS

  1. We haven’t learned anything from other congested and overgrown cities. Homeowners are paying much more in taxes, and they keep giving these companies a tax break. Really???
    Every time I go by this data center, I think about the wildlife that has lost its home.
    Soon Fayette County will look like Cobb County. Thank you, political leaders.

  2. The project will generate millions of dollars of tax revenue for the City of Fayetteville, Board of Education, and Fayette County government, even after any tax abatements are applied. I believe the revenue projection was published here (or maybe the AJC), but I’m sure the City of Fayetteville or the tax accessors office could provide those projections. It’s a boon to the rest of us tax payers and should help defray our coasts.

    Data centers don’t employ many people, so that reduces the burden on our roadways and on the school system.

    I think most of the commenters here are folks who live near the property in question and are peeved that the landowners want to extract value from their property, rather than leave it as untouched woodland. I understand their frustration, but they don’t own the land.

  3. Where are all the native wildlife that currently live on/in that land going to live? Hunt etc?
    I thought you all were riding the “save the earth” train’s sales pitch. This is not very “green”
    of you (unless your green is personal riches).
    I think the majority of the citizens would like to stop that train and complete an ethics audit of the conductors and the crew.
    You can’t have it both ways….
    The county’s employees’ slip is showing

  4. I am beginning to think money lined the pockets of many. Why ANY city council would allow destruction and reconstruction of so much land without any economic benefit for the served area is
    beyond any logical thought. Providing employment for a ‘dozen’ employees does not sound much of a financial boost back into the local community. Also, most ‘technicians’ won’t even be from Fayette county. As much as I hate shopping centers, I’d rather prefer something with a financial boost and return of the dollar.

  5. Data Centers – we need answers

    This Citizen column described the Fayetteville City Council meeting regarding the construction of the Fayette County QTS data center. Located near Trilith, this project removes 615 acres of forest, replacing it with the largest data center in the world (i.e., lots of drab buildings with computers in them).

    The still unanswered question is “how does this QTS data center benefit Fayette County citizens”? Or, as an official for the Development Authority put it when I asked why they support it -“return on investment”.

    Most of us moved to Fayette County for its great quality of life. We demand that our County stay that way, as reflected in every local election. On the other hand, commercial growth is key to our tax base.

    But very few jobs are created by data centers, as the column states. And the column did not contain information regarding projected taxes to be paid to our local government because this is unknown. Governments usually give tremendous tax breaks, cancelling projected tax revenues. No specific public information has been released regarding these key issues.

    We do know that the data center will be a negative for the environment, as well as for those living near that area. Centers consume substantial amounts of electricity to power and cool equipment. Their energy demand strains the local power grid and increases greenhouse gas emissions.

    These facilities require substantial amounts of water for cooling purposes. High data center usage exacerbates water scarcity problems. What guarantees do we have that water will be recycled? Will we have shortages here, as they have elsewhere with data centers?

    Another aspect is the electronic waste generated by data centers. How will QTS be handling the recycling/disposal issue in Fayette County?

    Despite these environmental issues, is this project right for our County? We must know what tax revenue this project will generate… after tax breaks. Exactly how many jobs are created? Our political leaders and the QTS project itself must also be more forthcoming regarding their plans to protect homeowners and our environment. It is unacceptable to have a project of this size with so many unknowns.