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Meta Stops Construction On 2 U.S. Data Centers As Part Of AI-Focused Redesign

Meta's proposed data center in Kuna, Idaho

Meta is canceling or pausing multiple data center development projects as the company changes its facilities to focus on artificial intelligence.

Facebook’s parent company announced last week it would pause construction on data center projects in Huntsville, Alabama, and Temple, Texas, and cancel a planned development in Odense, Denmark. The changes are part of a broader plan to dramatically rework 11 projects around the world with drastic redesigns meant to accommodate AI workloads, Data Center Dynamics reports

"Supporting AI workloads at scale requires a different type of data center than those built to support our regular online services," said Meta communications manager Peter Münster, according to Data Center Dynamics. "This is why we are focusing our efforts on building a new generation of data centers."

The construction pauses in Texas and Alabama come just months after the two projects were first announced. In Temple, Meta announced in March it was starting construction on what was expected to be a 900K SF facility. The Huntsville project was announced in June, an expansion of the company’s existing Alabama campus that would add a pair of buildings and bring the data center facility to 3.5M SF. 

While Meta has canceled its Denmark project, the company says it will eventually move forward with build-outs in Temple and Huntsville once its new data center design has been finalized, Data Center Dynamics reports. 

“In order to best serve our needs for the future, we have decided to change the design of a portion of our Huntsville Data Center which will result in a temporary construction pause of a portion of the project while we update our design,” Meta said in a statement. “We remain committed to this community, our local stakeholders, and our supply chain partners. We will work closely with our stakeholders to transition this project design as efficiently as possible.”

Meta has provided few details about its new AI-oriented data center plans, but the surprise shift in digital infrastructure strategy comes amid turbulent times for the social media giant. The company announced plans to lay off 11,000 employees last month, the result of economic headwinds, falling stock values and skepticism about the company’s pivot toward the metaverse.

Leadership at Meta has insisted the company will continue to increase spending on building new digital infrastructure even as it cuts back on its workforce, and it doesn't appear the delayed and canceled data center builds are part of an overall reduction in planned capital expenditures for new data center development. Meta announced last week that it had signed agreements to purchase more than 720 megawatts of solar power in Georgia and Tennessee, almost certainly to power new data centers.