Officials in Ohio Approve Amazon Data Center Development Plans
A road construction project in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo: Dublin’s official Flickr collection)

Officials in Ohio Approve Amazon Data Center Development Plans

Project reportedly split across three townships that have been competing for the build

Amazon’s planned data center project in Dublin, Ohio, is a step closer, with a panel of city officials approving development plans for a data-processing center on a 70-acre plot of land. The next step will be building permits.

The project is expected to cost $1.1 billion and create 120 jobs with average pay of $80,000 a year. Many localities are vying for the Amazon data center build, though it is now believed the project will be divided among three locations, the other two being Hilliard and Orange Township in Delaware County. Details as to how the project would be split are unknown, with Amazon still not commenting.

Dublin offered Amazon land valued at $6.8 million and performance incentives worth up to $500,000 over ten years. Hilliard is offering a real estate tax abatement valued at $5.4 million, wage tax rebates and permit fee waivers. Orange is rezoning a parcel of land for data center use.

This is in addition to incentives from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority, worth an estimated $81 million.

“I don’t believe we’re in competition with anyone,” Dublin Mayor Michael Keenan told the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s been the premise since day one."

The Dublin site being considered for a future Amazon data center is in a research and development park called the West Innovation District, north of Darree Fields Park.

According to Hilliard legislation, the first phase of the project, under code name Vadata, is expected to cost upwards of $300 million. Vadata is a wholly owned subsidiary Amazon uses to build data centers.

Incentives are tied to variables such as job creation and square footage.

In terms of overall economic impact, a recent Facebook-funded study in Forest City, North Carolina, provides a rough measuring stick. The study found the social network's data center there generated an economic impact of $707 million for the local economy.

Incentives in general continue to be a hot topic of debate. Arizona is courting Apple, and Oregon is close to modifying a controversial “brand tax” that assesses based on the intangible brand value. Local news organizations in Oregon are reporting that the cities themselves, however, are not happy with the prospect of losing that tax revenue.

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