Facebook Inc. paid  $24,742 an acre for the land in Altoona where it will build a $300 million data center, according to Polk County land records.

After more than a year of speculation, the arrival of Facebook was announced to much fanfare Tuesday and fueled a flurry of articles proclaiming the state's emergence as a data center mecca.

Facebook received $18 million in taxpayer development incentives for the nearly 500,000-square-foot data center and office building that will employ about 30 people at an average salary of nearly $50,000 when it is completed.

Officials said the initial build could be followed by two more construction phases that would bring the total project cost to about $1.5 billion.

The company bought a site that had been developed for residential construction, with water and sewer lines already in place. The data center land lies north of Interstate 80, across the highway and almost due north of the Bass Pro Shops retail store, another massive commercial development site in Altoona.

According to land documents that were signed April 17 and recorded Tuesday, the day the Facebook deal was announced, Facebook, operating as Siculus Inc., paid $4.8 million for the 194-acre parcel.

A development agreement memorandum between the city of Altoona and Facebook also was filed Tuesday. The memorandum provides no details about the project.

Hubbell Realty Co. paid $2.5 million for the land in 2005, according to Polk County property records.

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