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Google to build data center in Iowa

Google to build data center in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Google Inc. will build a $600 million data center in western Iowa, Gov. Chet Culver announced Tuesday.

The Internet leader has already begun construction on a 55-acre site in Council Bluffs, across the Missouri River from Omaha, Neb. The center is expected to create about 200 jobs with an average salary of about $50,000.

‘In making its decision, Google recognized what we in Iowa have known all along — our workforce and quality of life is second-to-none,’ Culver said in a statement.

The center, which will be part of Google’s worldwide network of such centers, is expected to open in the spring of 2009 at the Council Bluffs Industrial Foundation’s new business park. It will house computers that run the search engine’s services.

There is plenty of room for expansion at the site, as Google purchased about 1,185 acres, according to state economic development officials. Google has said it is particularly interested in the central region of the United States because it is a crossroads for Internet activity.

In an effort aimed at attracting Google, Iowa lawmakers last session passed a bill that would exempt electricity and capital investment requirements from sales tax for computer-related businesses.

Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo, who helped push the measure through the Legislature, said it was exciting to see Iowa attract a cutting-edge company that could bring similar businesses to the state.

‘I really think that this is just the start of these server-type businesses, and Google’s decision to come to Iowa is probably going to lead to other server companies coming to Iowa,’ he said.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company will get a property tax break through 2024, but will end up paying about $65 million in property taxes over the next 15 years. State economic development officials said that is the equivalent of the property tax collected annually from 3,771 homeowners based on numbers from 2000.

Google also will pay an estimated $6 million in sales taxes over the next couple of years as it purchases building materials, and will spend hundreds of thousands on electricity franchise fees.

The company said it is trying to use local vendors and suppliers whenever possible, spreading the economic impact of the new center throughout the western Iowa community.

‘We look forward to joining the community and are grateful for the support from the state and local governments throughout our evaluation process,’ Paul Froutan, director of operations for Google said in a statement.

Bob Mundt, president and CEO of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that the community has been hoping to attract new businesses.

‘I think it demonstrates that all the hard work the community has put in to make Council Bluffs an attractive place for business has paid off,’ he said.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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