New Albany News

New Albany City Council

Incentives approved for data centers

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New Albany City Council on June 4 approved a 65-percent property-tax abatement for seven years on each of five new data centers planned in the Central College Business Campus on New Albany Road East.

Compass Data Centers is expected to invest $61.3 million in the project and to create 26 full-time jobs with an anticipated payroll of $2.1 million when all five buildings are complete, according to City Council's legislative report.

New Albany spokesman Scott McAfee said the project could generate $4 million over the term of the incentives for the city and the New Albany-Plain Local School District, which gets a share of income-tax revenue from developments in the city's business parks.

Jennifer Chrysler, the city's community development director, said the incentive requires Compass Data Centers to ensure the buildings are valued at $200 per square foot and make payments to the city if the property valuation falls below that figure.

"They are the first company to agree to that," Chrysler said.

Chrysler said the data centers would "diversify" the city's business park offerings and could assist with business retention by providing data-center space for companies already located in New Albany.

Increasing a company's investment in the community could make it stay longer, she said.

"What makes this (data center project) different from the rest of our data centers is that these are going to be designed to be used by companies that don't have a data center here, but need mission-critical components," McAfee said.

"Most data centers we currently have were built by specific companies to service mission-critical functions for those companies," he said.

"This would be for a company that didn't need to build its own data center, but needed those services."

Chris Crosby, Compass Data Centers CEO, said the company has locations in 50 municipalities worldwide and its officials believe Ohio is "a very underserved market."

"What we've seen in response to our sales efforts is that there is enough of a demand there in the Columbus area that we want to go ahead and start purchasing the land we are going to need," said Steve Flaig, vice president of marketing for Compass Data Centers.

"Based on what we've seen, five initial data centers there is equal to the demand that we're seeing for that area."

Flaig said companies can lease the space or purchase the buildings.

He said the company chooses sites that have access to electricity and fiber optics for Internet access.

Crosby told City Council that New Albany's Central College Business Campus is "the most impressive business park we've seen."

He said fiber optics running through the park are a huge asset, because it can cost $2 to $10 million to extend fiber lines one mile.

City Council members voted 4-0 to offer the incentives. Chip Fellows, Chris Wolfe and Mayor Nancy Ferguson did not attend the meeting.

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