- Holder Construction broke ground Nov. 1 on a Google data center in New Albany, Ohio, making it the third major tech company to establish a facility in the Columbus, Ohio suburb.
- The new location will cost $600 million and cover 440 acres, with completion expected by early 2021.
- Google’s arrival follows Facebook adding 415 acres last month for the social media giant’s growing data farm in the town. Facebook first invested in a New Albany data center in 2017, three years after Amazon spent $1.1 billion on facilities in central Ohio.
Data centers are massive warehouses used to host IT operations in one, manageable location. One data center can house thousands of servers for storing and distributing data online. Central Ohio — and New Albany, in particular — has become a hub for data centers thanks in part to huge tax cuts offered by the state, and an abundant and convenient source of electrical power.
The infrastructure brought to New Albany by American Electric Power (AEP) set the stage for more tech firms to follow, Scott McAfee, a spokesperson for New Albany’s economic development department, told Construction Dive.
“The turning point was probably when American Electric Power built a mission critical structure to serve their 12-state region,” McAfee said. AEP’s presence allowed the New Albany International Business Park to provide “triple-redundant electricity and state-of-the-art fiber optics,” he added. The business park has 4,500 acres, according to McAfee, with 11 million square feet of commercial space already in use.
Although many data centers have grown to encompass housing servers for several companies, tech companies like Google and Facebook require their own because of the sheer amount of information they handle.
For the Google project, New Albany included an incentive package that offered 100% property tax abatement for 15 years and agreed to waive up to $250,000 in building and permitting fees. The state of Ohio also is offering tax incentives to further draw the tech giants. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority also approved a 100%, 15-year exemption on sales taxes for data centers that would be worth $43.5 million over the life the credit and renewable for up to 40 years, according to Columbus Business First.
Google’s $13 billion 2019 expansion plan calls for seven new data centers, including the New Albany location, which is the most recent to break ground. Other data centers announced include locations in Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma. Google broke ground in June in Midlothian, Texas and in July in Henderson, Nevada.
In an announcement, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that additional office and data center growth in Northern Virginia, known as “Data Center Alley,” would double the company’s workforce there.
Atlanta-based Holder Construction, a leading builder of data centers, also constructed the Iron Mountain facility in Phoenix.