Microsoft's Quincy, Washington data center campus is about to get much bigger. Microsoft intends to purchase 200 acres of industrial property from the Port of Quincy for $11 million. This is three times the size of Microsoft's sizable, existing property. Construction on the new site will begin in the spring, with the first phase expected to be completed in early 2015.
“The land deal is one of the largest in port history,” port Commissioner Curt Morris said. The sale is expected to close in January following a public hearing to announce plans to sell the property.
Quincy has attracted 6 other server farms to the area over the years, which sit among 200,000 acres of farmland. Quincy’s motto is “Where Agriculture Meets Technology.” It’s an attractive data center location thanks to cheap power via nearby Columbia River, and dirt cheap (at least initially) land prices, when Microsoft first established a data center there. Additionally, 20 years ago the Quincy mayor had the foresight to invest heavily in dark fiber, meaning the connectivity is also there. Along with Microsoft, Yahoo!, Dell, Sabey, Vantage and Intuit have all built sizable data centers in Quincy.
When completed the new data center will create 100 full-time jobs.
This new development will be the largest server farm in Quincy; the site is more than three times the size of the current property Microsoft owns there, which is the size of 10 football fields. The company is clearly building out its infrastructure in support of its cloud computing initiatives.
Microsoft will pay $3,985,500 for 60 acres the port already owns. It will also pay the port $7,058,700 for adjacent acreage that the port is first buying from private landowners for just over $6.6 million before selling the land to Microsoft. The city of Quincy on Tuesday annexed the private property into the city limits, making way for the transaction to move forward.
"The company meets all of the zoning requirements of the city," Morris said. "Our mission is to continue to advance the industrial development of Quincy."
The Economic Benefits of a Data Center Cluster
The combination of cheap power, cheap land and dark fiber set up the perfect storm. Now, thanks to Microsoft and others like Yahoo locating here, property values are rising, new houses and stores are everywhere. There is always new construction in town, which has grown from 5,400 residents in 2007 to more than 6,200 today.
The arrival of data centers has meant much more than just jobs. The town has benefited in a variety of ways, from a surge in construction to being able to get 100mbs internet connections for 20 bucks a month.
After receiving $700,000 in sales taxes in 2005, Quincy’s tax revenue grew to $1.5 million in 2006 and nearly tripled to $4.3 million in 2007 due to data center construction by Microsoft and Yahoo. Those two Internet giants were followed by new data center projects from Intuit, Sabey Corp., Dell and Vantage Data Centers.Now, Microsoft is building again.