Google Confirms $600 Million Expansion in The Dalles

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An aerial view of the Google data enter campus in The Dalles, Oregon at sunset. (Photo: Google)

The Dalles, Oregon has become the latest member of the Billion Dollar Data Center Club. Google said today that it will spend $600 million to expand its data center campus on the banks of the Columbia River in The Dalles, bringing the giant company’s investment in the small town to $1.2 billion since 2005.

Google has built two large data centers in The Dalles, which were the first company-built facilities. The project put the town of 13,000 residents in the national spotlight in 2006 when aerial photos of the Google server farms appeared on the front page of the New York Times.

Earlier this year Google has filed plans with local officials to build a 164,000 square foot data center on its 37-acre property in The Dalles nestled alongside the Columbia River. Google built two single-story data centers at the site in 2007, which were refurbished last year with a “rip and replace” upgrade of its power infrastructure to support additional equipment. The $600 million investment suggests the expansion will include more than the single facility on the books.

“We’re excited to expand our presence in The Dalles,” said Dave Karlson, Operations Manager for Google. “This represents our ongoing commitment to Wasco County, and the state of Oregon, and we look forward to our continued close work with this community.”

Billion Dollar Data Centers

The Dalles joins a select group of communities that have become the homes of billion-dollar server farms. Others include Maiden, North Carolina (Apple); Council Bluffs, Iowa (Google); Boydton, Vriginia (Microsoft); and Bluffdale, Utah (the NSA). These projects have been hailed by governors and economic development officials, who see data centers operated by Internet titans as symbols of the new economy.

“Google’s investment in Oregon affirms that our state is a great place to do business and help communities grow,” said Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. “A new investment of over $600 million illustrates the depth of their long-term commitment to the state, and is great news.”

The City of The Dalles and Wasco County have approved a second enterprise zone agreement with Google, in which the company has agreed to invest at least $200 million and create 10 jobs. The company will also pay $1.2 million in fees up front to the community and $800,000 each following year while the agreement is in effect. This agreement is in addition to the company’s original enterprise zone agreement, under which the company agreed to invest $33 million and create 35 jobs.

Over time, Google has invested more than $600 million and employs over 80 people, most of them local to the Gorge area in Oregon. Google will also continue its philanthropy in the community, which has seen the company award more than $777,000 in grants to support Wasco County Schools and nonprofits and grant $180,000 to fund the infrastructure for a free WiFi network for The Dalles.

“This agreement is a win-win for us,” said Steve Lawrence, Mayor of The Dalles. “Google expands and creates jobs, and we all benefit. The annual payments will allow us to invest in progress and jobs in the community. I’m thrilled to learn that Google is planning to invest an additional $600 million- far more than the agreement calls for.”

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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