Go ahead and pull out your maps. The little town of Rockdale, Texas, in the United States isn’t known to many people, but it is about to be brought back to life. The town that was previously home to Alcoa, an aluminum manufacturer that exited the area in 2014 after 59 years, and Luminant, a Texas utility company, has been selected as the location for a new data center for cryptocurrency mining company Bitmain.
Bitmain made the announcement through a press release on Thursday, saying it will be investing over $500 million into the area over a seven-year period for the new facility, which represents “a key component of Bitmain’s strategic investment and expansion plans within North America.”
The data center will be located on the former Alcoa site. When Alcoa packed up, it left a huge void in the area that was compounded when 450 local employees lost their jobs after Luminant closed its coal-fired power plant in Rockdale. The new facility is expected to bring in as many as 400 local jobs during the first two years—a welcome relief to the stagnant economy. Additionally, Bitmain will be working with local educational facilities to offer professional and technical training courses so that it can “prepare members of the community for careers with the data center.”
Construction on the facility has already begun, with completion anticipated during the last quarter of 2018. The data center will have its inauguration during the early part of 2019. Executive VP and Director of Operations for Bitmain, North America, Jeff Steams, said, “Bitmain is truly honored to announce this news and is excited to work with local partners, government and stakeholders in realizing this vision, throughout the initial set-up phase, operations and beyond.”
Bitmain is already recruiting for a number of positions, including senior management, finance, sales, engineers and other technical positions. There have also been indications that the company could be looking to add staff to work in an office in Chandler, Arizona, and in new offices in the cities of Wenatchee and Malaga in Washington State.
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