In what is looking like a positive trend for Niagara County, Verizon is moving forward on plans to construct a one million square foot data center in the Town of Somerset. The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency (NCIDA) Wednesday formally accepted an application from Verizon. The center would create hundreds of jobs, including approximately 500 jobs during the construction phase, employ 200 paying an average of $85,000 a year, and have an estimated annual economic impact of $500 million. Total investment could approach $4.5 billion as the facility expands.
The Verizon project comes just weeks after Yahoo opened a $150 million data center in the Town of Lockport and reports that Twitter has been scouting WNY locations for a data center location.
“This is extremely exciting news for Niagara County and the region,” said Niagara County Industrial Development Agency Chairman Henry M. Sloma. “We cannot lose this once in a life time opportunity and I am confident that if all the parties involved work together in a collaborative fashion we can make this project a reality for our community. At the same time, we have a process to go through and today is the first step of that process. We will do our due diligence throughout this process.”
According to the application filed by Verizon to the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, the company will be seeking a 20-year payment in lieu of taxes or PILOT agreement as well as other incentives and benefits. Verizon also is seeking an allocation of low cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority.
“Our agency cannot do this on its own so we are looking to other economic development entities such as the New York Power Authority to assist our efforts as they have on other projects in our region.” Chairman Sloma continued. “The bottom line is that we must make this project a reality because of the significant and long term positive economic impacts it will have on our region for generations to come.”
NYC-based Verizon has not officially selected Somerset for the project but says it is the preferred site. The company would purchase the 180-acre lakefront site from neighboring AES Corporation which operates a coal-fired power plant there. Verizon operates 250 data centers worldwide but the proposed Somerset facility would be one of its largest.