Google Inc’s Expansion Story in Iowa Continues

Search engine giant Google Inc. announced on Tuesday an investment of $300 million to build a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa taking the company’s total investment in the city close to a staggering $900 million. This center is expected to generate about 50 new jobs in the city across the Missouri river from Omaha, Nebraska. Computer repair, heating and cooling and logistics will be some of the major areas of employment.

Iowa governor Terry Branstad and other officials announced that construction will begin immediately on a 1000 acre site to the south of Council Bluffs. However, they could not comment on the completion date of the news center or its size. The existing data center, valued at around $600 million, opened in 2009 and brought 200 jobs to the area. Computer systems that support Google Search, Gmail, and Google Maps are located in the center. Russell said that the new center will provide the same service. “We are glad to be in Iowa, and Google’s future here is very bright,” Russell said.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority board approved tax credits worth $9 million, ranging from property tax to sales and corporate tax breaks. This, combined with competitive electricity rates, helped convince Google to expand in Iowa.

Debi Durham, Director of the State Department of Economic Development noted that Google’s first data center proposal at Council Bluffs was for $300 million which was doubled to $600 million by the opening of the facility in 2009. “I well anticipate them doing that again,” Durham said. “But their (tax incentives) are capped at $300 million.” Another important observation made by the Director was the possibility of Google going to another state if the incentives were not provided.

Google had earlier in the month announced a similar expansion in Pryor, Oklahoma, taking their investment there to around $700 million.

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