Construction has begun on an $800-million data center for Facebook on a 390-acre site in Mesa, Ariz. The 960,000-sq-ft project is the company’s first data center in Arizona.

It is expected to support as many 1,500 construction jobs at peak and 100 operational jobs when it opens in the last quarter of 2023.

Redwood City, Calif.-based DPR Construction is leading the design-build team.

The sprawling complex is sited in the Elliot Road Tech Corridor at Ellsworth Road in the city’s Eastmark community.

Facebook says it chose the East Valley site for a number of reasons. “Mesa has great access to infrastructure, opportunities for renewable-energy development, strong talent for both construction and operations and great community partners,” says Melanie Roe, Facebook spokeswoman.

From design and construction forward, the company’s Mesa facility is touted to be among the most advanced energy- and water-efficient data centers in the world.

“All of our data centers are designed to be LEED Gold and reach the certification once they are operational,” Roe says. In addition, Facebook is prioritizing sustainable, clean energy and local water conservation.

For example, the social-media giant has partnered with the Salt River Project (SRP) to bring solar energy to the local grid through three new projects in Pinal County, south of Mesa. The data center will be the largest consumer of that energy, utilizing 450 MW from two 200-MW solar plants and one 100-MW solar plant.

A not-for-profit public power utility, Tempe-based SRP is the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and its largest supplier of water.

In addition, to help meet its goal of using at least 60% less water than the average data center, Facebook has announced plans to restore 200-plus-million gallons of water annually to the Colorado River and Salt River basins. That’s more water than the data center will consume.

Facebook leaders say it is in keeping with the company’s recently announced goal to be water positive for all operations by 2030. “That means we will restore more water than is consumed by our global operations,” Roe says.

The Facebook data center in Mesa also will receive water credits for its operations from an agreement with Gila River Water Storage LLC, SRP’s joint venture with the Gila River Indian Community, which provides renewable water in the form of Long Term Storage Credits to companies seeking additional supplies.

“The data center will procure these LTSCs from Gila River Water Storage, which means that it will not use any water rights from Mesa’s municipal supply for operations,” Roe says.