Google Brings Its $600M Data Center to Ohio; Joining Ranks of Amazon and Facebook

Published on November 4, 2019

It’s been five years in the making, following Amazon and Facebook’s 2014 and 2017 decisions, respectively, to build data centers throughout central Ohio. On Friday, Google made waves as it announced that it will be building its $600 million data center in New Albany, Ohio.

In 2014, when Amazon decided to build its data centers in New Albany, Hilliard, and Dublin—it caught the attention of Facebook, who then followed up three years later with its $750 million data center investment in New Albany, eventually expanding to a three-building campus at over 1.5 million square feet.

Back in February when Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai announced the project, it had just released its plans for its $13 billion in data center investments across the U.S. this year alone. The 400-acre data center is expected to open in a year.

With over 120 data centers spread throughout Ohio, with at least 50 located in central Ohio, the state is generally suited for data centers due to the little risk for earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, or tornadoes compared with other parts of the country.

While this summer’s fifteen devastating Dayton tornadoes left many in ruins and the city still recovering, this was literally the definition of an isolated incident. Central Ohio has ample sources of low-cost electricity and a mild climate that helps to keep energy costs low. Plus, you must throw in the technologically savvy talent necessary to keep the data centers running.

New Albany has been extremely attractive due to its infrastructure, according to Andrew Silvestri, head of public policy and community development for Google’s data centers. In addition to the infrastructure in place, “the talent and workforce pipelines that the community has worked to foster over the years,” Silvestri attributes to Google’s decision to build and expand in the Columbus suburb.

Data centers are becoming more prevalent and all the more necessary for two reasons—the advancement of cloud computing and the need to preserve our data securely now more than ever.

This move will allow Google to essentially capitalize off the past few years of data breaches and behaviors that have brought companies like Facebook under serious public scrutiny. Its new data center will hopefully implement and incorporate as much as it can to avoid legal scrutiny in the event something does happen in the near future.

Data centers enable Google to power your searches, organize documents and emails, and help you find the fastest way home,” Mark Isakowitz, Google’s vice-president of U.S. public policy, said in a statement Friday.

This latest project is one of nine data-center projects in New Albany. Just a year ago, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved state tax incentives worth approximately $43.5 million for the project. It’s fair to assume that the company will also be eligible for other tax incentives as it continues to expand its data center projects.

On Friday, Ohio Lt. Governor, Jon Husted (OH-R) and U.S. Representative Troy Balderson (OH-R) attended Columbus’ International Business Park to help share the announcement.

Andrew "Drew" Rossow is an award-winning journalist and former News Editor at Grit Daily. Joining in 2019, he was instrumental in Grit Daily's "year two" and in Grit Daily House, the alt-SXSW activation that Fast Company described as bringing "SXSW back to its roots." He is a nominal co-founder at Grit Daily.

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