Policy: Labor

Past work credited for luring data center to Iowa

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News,Business,Labor

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — West Des Moines officials say their past work with major companies played an important role in attracting a $1.1 billion Microsoft data center to their city.

Microsoft approached West Des Moines about the project roughly five years ago but had concerns over whether the city could provide the necessary infrastructure, according to the Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/1kPKAZU ).

West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer said city officials pointed to their relationships with other major companies, such as Wells Fargo and General Growth Properties. Gaer says those connections gave the city credibility and showed that they deliver on their promises.

The new data center announced Friday is Microsoft's second in West Des Moines. Dubbed Project Alluvion as a way to keep it a secret, the new data center will bring the company's total investment in the city to just under $2 billion.

West Des Moines Deputy City Manager Jody Smith said having the same staff members working on both Microsoft projects helped secure the new data center.

"We're a consistent group, and when we say we can get something done, we get it done," Smith said.

To help land the new project, both the city and state approved incentives for Microsoft, so long as the data center creates 84 jobs and adds $255 million in taxable value to West Des Moines.

Once the data center is fully built out in five to seven years, that taxable value could add about $8 million a year in property tax revenue to the city. That represents about 14 percent of the city's current annual operating budget.

With infrastructure improvements and a connection between Microsoft's two sites on the way, West Des Moines officials believe an extended technology corridor will form along a seven-mile stretch. That corridor would then become a hub, they hope, for new commercial development.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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