Mystery Surrounds Iowa Data Center Project

Iowa state officials are currently at a standstill pertaining to final approval for data center tax incentives for an unnamed organization planning an Iowa data center project. The mysterious initiative, dubbed “Project Alluvion,” was expected to appear on the agenda for a March 28 Iowa Economic Development Authority meeting, but was held off as the data center operator seeks to finalize project details.

As state economic development officials waited for the company to polish their Iowa data center plan, the West Des Moines City Council endorsed the project’s application for state financial incentives in a unanimous decision. In exchange for a $255 million investment in the region by the data center developer, as well as the establishment of 84 new employment opportunities, the state will provide up to $18 million in local incentives like infrastructure enhancements and developer costs. The incentives come as part of the High Quality Jobs Program, which enables organizations to reap advantages for creating a certain number of employment positions.

While details of the plan remain shrouded in mystery, what information has emerged shows the cryptic Project Alluvion will include four building phases. Additionally, the organization is asking that the city perform construction that would improve infrastructure resources for the proposed structure, including completing paving on several nearby streets, the extension of water and sewer lines, power line relocation and construction of fiber optic lines.

Recent Growth in Iowa Data Center Market
The anonymous data center firm investing in Project Alluvion is just one of a number of technology giants to locate facilities in the state. Last year, Facebook launched plans for a new data center in Altoona which is set to open in 2015. The new facility will be primarily powered by wind energy as part of the company’s focus on data center sustainability.

Around the same time Facebook made its announcement, Microsoft also went public with plans for a $678 million expansion of its West Des Moines data center. This project reaped the benefits of data center tax incentives as well in exchange for creating 29 new jobs.

Google also invested an additional $400 million in its Council Bluffs, Iowa data center with plans to expand the facility. In total, the search engine giant poured an estimated $1.3 billion in the facility.

In addition to advantageous data center tax incentives, Iowa also holds other benefits for projects, including access to high-speed fiber optic resources, low instance of natural disasters and considerable land areas available for development.

Leave a Comment