Kansas City is one of America’s most exciting and dynamic cities, said Matt Sexton, making it the ideal choice to build out a nearly 1 million-square-foot data center for Meta, the tech behemoth behind Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp..
“There are a lot of sites around the country that might have one or two qualities that would lend themselves to this type of project, but KCMO truly had it all with virtually every desirable factor we were looking for,” said Sexton, a community development manager with Meta.
“It had great infrastructure, access to renewable energy. We have incredible energy and economic development partners; so many of you are in the room right now,” Sexton said to an audience of nearly 2,000 individuals, including corporate and civic leaders, at the Kansas City Area Development Council’s annual meeting. “We have a world class workforce here to build and ultimately operate as a data center, and a high quality of life to attract and retain the best talent here in Kansas City for the long term.”
Click here to read more about Meta’s $800M data center coming to Kansas City.
KCADC’s annual luncheon, themed “Level Up,” celebrated a historic year for the region. In 2022, KCADC — which works to relocate businesses and talent to the Kansas City area — and its partners across the region attracted companies that are set to invest more than $5.6 billion in capital investment, resulting in $354 million in payroll and nearly 6,000 jobs.
“It takes all of us to make the KC region better, and KCADC does its part to lead and contribute to its share of regional successes,” said Brian Roberts, who serves as co-chair of the KCADC Board of Directors and chief operating officer of Midwest Series at Lockton Companies. “The strategic investments KCADC has made for decades to elevate our region’s business and lifestyle strengths benefit not only companies considering our region, but provide support and return to companies that are already here.”
The record-breaking year is six times more than KCADC’s historical annual investment success; it expands Kansas City’s strengths in manufacturing and distribution, animal health, technology and data centers, Roberts noted.
Included in this year’s statistics are two megaprojects: Meta’s $800 million hyperscale data center in Kansas City, Missouri, and Panasonic Energy of North America’s $4 billion EV battery plant in De Soto, Kansas.
“We chose the KC area because of the people [who] are here, your energy and enthusiasm,” said Allan Swan, president of Panasonic.
Panasonic’s plant, located on 309 acres, is set to manufacture lithium-ion 2170 batteries for Tesla, as well as expand into batteries for various customers.
More than 4,000 people will be employed at Panasonic’s plant, Swan said — noting that the company will be making its first 100 to 200 hires in the first six months of 2023. The plant is expected to begin production in 2025.
“Eight hundred to a thousand [people] will be staff members — predominantly engineers, so chemical engineers, mechanical engineers,” Swan noted. “… Then there has to be about 3,000 operators. And I don’t need anybody with a particular skill level. I just need energy and enthusiasm, and we’ll do all the training.”
Meta, which announced its data center in March, has moved 2 million cubic yards of dirt, as well as installed 42,000 linear feet of electrical cable and duct bank. In November, the company plans to go vertical with steel, said Katie Comer, Meta’s head of data center community development.
“Over the next several months, we will kick off a flurry of activity at the site — on both the Meta side and through our general contractor Turner Construction — as we reach our trade numbers and continue to hire our operational jobs to run and operate the infrastructure based within this incredible facility,” Comer said. “And that is only the beginning. We see the sky as the limit here in KCMO.”