Facebook parent company plans to build $700M data center in Rosemount

For months, a massive proposed development in Rosemount, Minnesota has been shrouded in secrecy, known only as "Project Bigfoot." Now, it has been revealed that the parent company of Facebook, Meta, is behind the project.

The land in question, UMore Park, spans nearly 5,000 acres in Dakota County. Once a federally-owned gunpowder manufacturing site during World War II, it has been owned by the University of Minnesota since the war. In 2015, the university approved the selling of the property in stages for development.

Coming up for a vote by the University's Board of Regents on Thursday is a 280-acre section in the northeast corner of the land.

Documents reveal that the mysterious buyer is Jimnist LLC, owned by Meta. Public filings with the Utilities Commission by Xcel Energy last week also named Meta, after keeping it secret in previous documents dating back to last year.

Those documents described plans for a $700 million data center on the site, which would employ 1,000 construction workers. Once completed, the facility is expected to house around 50 full-time employees.

Meta currently has 21 data centers in the United States, with the nearest one being in Altoona, Iowa. These centers house the servers and technology that power their products, such as Facebook and Instagram.

As for why Meta chose this particular site in Rosemount, the company says it looks for shovel-ready sites with good access to fiber and power, which are critical for data centers.

If approved by the University on Thursday, the selling price for these 280 acres will be just shy of $40 million.