Google has bought a former paper mill in southeastern Finland and is likely to convert the facility into a data center, the company said today. Google will pay $51.6 million for the site, and expects to close on the purchase by the end of the first quarter.
Google (GOOG) has been slowing its data center development in the United States, recently idling a scheduled project in Oklahoma. But the company continues to invest in land deals in Europe in preparation for future data center expansion. In November Google purchased 185 acres of farmland in Kronstorf, Austria for future development as a data center.
The facility in Summa, Finland was owned by the paper company Stora Enso, which halted production in January 2008, citing a decline in demand for newsprint. The sale was announced this morning. Stora Enso and Google have agreed that part of the mill site will be transferred to the City of Hamina for "other industrial uses."
At its peak, the mill produced more than 500,000 tons a year of newsprint and magazine paper. At a time when the newspaper industry is being hit by layoffs and closures, the facility's shift from a newsprint mill to a data center powering online services is being noted by PaidContent as symbolic of a broader economic shift.