American Electric Power Co. plans to invest more than $125 million in a new data center on Hamilton Road, a project that aligns with the city of Groveport’s recently passed gateway corridor plan.

City Council unanimously approved a variance request for the project during a special meeting July 16, giving developers the green light to begin construction on the 22,000-square-foot Tier III backup data center at 4470 S. Hamilton Road, across from Groveport Madison High School.

Council President Shawn Cleary abstained from voting because he is employed by AEP.

“While Groveport’s strength has traditionally been in warehouse and distribution operations, AEP’s new facility will be the first data center located in Groveport, highlighting the successful diversification of our economic base as we look to the future,” Assistant City Administrator and Finance Director Jeff Green said.

“By locating its critical data facility here, AEP is providing depth and credibility to the community’s infrastructure stability.”

The data center will create 17 new jobs and connect to AEP’s primary data center in New Albany, according to a company news release.

The annual payroll is anticipated to be $2.2 million.

“This is like some of the other businesses we’ve been looking at besides warehouses,” Councilman Ed Dildine Jr. said.

“We’re trying to look at different types of businesses, and part of it is a data center or IT company like this. This has a very small footprint.”

“AEP’s new data center in Groveport will provide enterprise infrastructure solutions for critical business applications, while serving as a disaster recovery data center,” the release said.

“Data will flow between AEP’s primary center in New Albany and the new backup data center via an AEP-owned fiber network, allowing the company to centralize its technology for a faster recovery period.”

According to information from AEP, data centers in the Columbus area benefit from central Ohio’s strong “fiber optic and electrical infrastructure, competitive power costs, low natural disaster risk and one of the nation’s best tax climates for data centers.”

Groveport’s gateway corridor plan addresses future development options for the Hamilton and Groveport roads corridors. One of the recommendations in the plan is to expand the existing AEP facility at 4500 S. Hamilton Road.

Developer Compass Datacenters expects to begin construction in August and complete the work in 2019. The property sits in a community reinvestment area and is eligible for a 15-year, 100 percent tax abatement. However, no incentives or abatements have been granted at this time, Green said.

The plan also mentions the possibility of expansion. If so, a traffic study would be required, Dildine said.