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Headingley misses out on data centre

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After months of highly secret legal negotiations aimed at having social media titan Facebook establish a centre in the RM of Headingley, the deal fell through.


Headingley CAO Chris Fulsher said details of the business arrangement were so confidential the councillors didn’t even know which company was considering locating on agricultural land west of the townsite.


They were informed that Facebook decided against the Headingley site on Feb. 16, but weren’t given a reason for the rejection. The company issued a news release on April 22 announcing their new data centre will be constructed in Altoona, Iowa. This will be their fourth such centre and the third one situated in the U.S.


While the municipality didn’t include anticipated tax revenue to be collected from the centre in its recently released 2013 financial plan or their five-year projected revenue, Headingley mayor Wilf Taillieu said they have paid for legal fees.


"We did spend some money and that’s what we’re out," he said.


Fulsher said the fees paid to consultants and lawyers stood at about $52,000 at the end of 2012.


Fulsher said the data centre would have been a huge energy consumer, with Manitoba Hydro standing to benefit, if the project had gone ahead.


He added he and the councillors learned about what’s required to attract a large tenant to their industrial park, and this knowledge may prove useful in the future.

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