Microsoft on Thursday confirmed plans to build a 470,000 square foot data center project in San Antonio, making it official after the San Antonio City Council approved a $20.7 million tax abatement package. Mike Manos, senior director of Microsoft Data Center Services, said the two-building complex will operate around the clock housing Web pages, e-mail and instant message servers, and all kinds of Web-based applications. Microsoft says it will invest at least $550 million in the project, and said that estimate could be conservative.
The software giant is scaling up its data center infrastructure as it moved to a “software as a service” model focused around delivering consumer and business services through web portals like Office Live. Microsoft broke ground last June on a 75-acre data storage facility in Quincy, Washington which could eventually psan 1.4 million square feet.
The project still must go before the Bexar County Commissioners Court, which is expected to approve a similar package of incentives. The tax abatement was approved for 44 acres of undeveloped land in the Westover Hills development at 5150 Rogers Road. The city is also asking CPS Energy to approve up to $5.2 million in assistance to help pay for electrical infrastructure for the project.
The San Antonio site ranked best on a checklist of 31 criteria for Microsoft, which also considered sites in the Austin market. Microsoft estimates that the project will take 18 months to two years to complete. Once the center is fully operational, it will become the biggest customer of CPS Energy, said the utility’s chief executive, Milton Lee. Manos said Microsoft plans to operate a “green” data center, and will use 8 million gallons a year in recycled water from the San Antonio Water System. It also plans to conserve trees at its building site and to save energy wherever possible, Manos said.