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Tech giant Google considering data center in Northland

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Posted at 10:23 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 23:45:50-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Internet behemoth Google may build a $600 million high-tech data center in the Northland.

Port KC approved a bond Monday in that amount to fund the first phase of the project.

There isn’t a defined time frame yet for the project, which would be located in the new North Arlington Business Park.

“This is a win-win scenario that will help KC move forward for many years to come,” Kansas City, Missouri, City Councilmember Dan Fowler said in a release. “The City had the foresight to invest in N. Arlington infrastructure, and now it’s paying off.”

Fowler, who also serves as a Port KC Commissioner, confirmed Monday that “Google is in talks with Hunt Midwest to build a global data center in the Northland.”

The preliminary site development plan calls for six phases. Port KC has given preliminary authorization for another $25 billion in future bonding to advance the project.

Google also confirmed Monday that it was considering an expansion into Kansas City.

“Google is considering acquiring property in Kansas City, MO, and while we do not have a confirmed timeline for development of the site, we want to ensure that we have the option to further grow should our business demand it,” Google’s Head of Data Center Public Policy and Community Development Andrew Silvestri said in a statement from the company.

Google isn’t prepared to commit to building any phases at this time, but the first phase, if the company pushes ahead, is expected to create at least 30 full-time jobs and generate hundreds of construction jobs.

“Google may be the first tenant in N. Arlington, but it also will be a major catalyst,” Fowler said. “Multiple other tech and related businesses will cluster there, bringing even more jobs to our area.”

Fowler acknowledged there has been criticism of the new business park, but said the city’s investment in infrastructure improvements were key in bringing Google close to the proposed agreement.

Under the terms of the proposal, Google wound finance the project, but Port KC would hold the title and lease the property to Google, which would avoid property and sales taxes thanks to Port KC’s tax-exempt status.

Google would pay annual port fees in lieu of taxes, which would be distributed to the North Kansas City School District, the city of Kansas City and Clay County.

Additional fees paid by Google to Port KC would help transform the 415-acre site of the former mill for AK Steel into an inland intermodal port along the Missouri River.