State officials say Microsoft plans to “immediately” begin construction of a new data center in West Des Moines, although the project has been scaled down from initial plans. Governor Culver says the company promises to employ 25 people at the facility when it’s up and running next spring and those workers will be be paid more than $30 an hour on average.
“That’s the most important thing here: economic development and job opportunities for people in this exciting information technology field,” Culver says.
The so-called “server farm” will be located to the west of Interstate-35 and south of the Jordan Creek shopping mall that’s in West Des Moines. “You’re talking about really good-paying construction jobs to build this $100 million facility and then 25 permanent jobs,” Culver says. “…We are very, very excited about this good news. We’ve been competing very aggressively for this project for about three years.”
When the recession hit, Microsoft shelved previous plans to build a $600 million data center at the site in West Des Moines. Google is currently operating a “server farm” in Council Bluffs. The Google and Microsoft projects received special tax incentives from the state; over $3 million worth of road improvements were made around the Microsoft site in West Des Moines. Microsoft was considering sites in San Antonio and Chicago for its newest data center.
“We’ve now scored the big trifecta,” Culver says. “We have IBM, Google and Microsoft all doing business and creating hundreds and hundreds of good-paying jobs in Council Bluffs, Dubuque and now West Des Moines so it’s a good day for our economy.”
IBM has hired about 870 workers for its service center in Dubuque, with plans to expand the Dubuque workforce to 1300 by year’s end. Google officially opened its data center in Council Bluffs two years ago, with plans to employ about 200 people.