Google Taps North Carolina for New Datacenter Site

Google plans to build a new, US$600 million datacenter in North Carolina designed to help support its online operations, the company announced Friday.

The site, to be located in the city of Lenoir, is expected to create about 210 jobs over time. North Carolina awarded Google a 12-year job development investment grant with incentives of about $4.8 million. The North Carolina Department of Commerce estimates the project will bring the state a cumulative gross value of about $1 billion and a cumulative net revenue increase of $37 million.

Supporting Growth

For Google, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., the new datacenter will add much needed capacity to support its rapidly expanding Internet offerings.

“The datacenter we’re planning to build in Lenoir will help support continued growth in our online services,” said Lloyd Taylor, Google’s director of global operations. “We look forward to joining the local community and are grateful for the support from the state and local governments throughout our evaluation process.”

Google’s datacenters are where its search results pages are generated, and where users’ online queries are answered, so capacity is essential for serving its users, Barry Schnitt, a spokesperson for the company told the E-Commerce Times.

While it is still in the very early planning stages, Google’s goal is for the datacenter to be operational in the next 12 to 18 months, he added. Between 75 and 125 people will be hired initially, with expansions creating more jobs over time, Schnitt said.

Employment Opportunities

Lenoir, about 50 miles northwest of Charlotte, is part of a region that has been economically hurt by layoffs in the textile and furniture industries, and is sorely in need of new employment opportunities.

“This company will provide hundreds of good-paying, knowledge-based jobs that North Carolina’s citizens want,” said North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley. “It will help reinvigorate an area hard hit by the loss of furniture and textile jobs with 21st century opportunities.”

Wages at the Lenoir facility will vary by job function, but the average wage is expected to be more than $48,300 not including benefits. By contrast, average wages in Caldwell County, including Lenoir’s population of about 18,000, are about $27,300 without benefits.

A Good Infrastructure

Lenoir was a particularly attractive location option for Google because of its existing infrastructure — a result of its longstanding partnership with the furniture industry, Schnitt explained. “There is a strong infrastructure due to the presence of the furniture manufacturers, and a strong local community.”

“North Carolina is a desirable area because costs and wages are lower, yet they have a base of skilled, technologically savvy employees they can draw from,” Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, told the E-Commerce Times.

Building new datacenters has become a way of life for Google as it continues to expand its offerings and serve more and more users, Sterling said. “Google is rapidly expanding their services, and what they do simply requires a lot of computing power,” he explained. “As they expand their services, they need to expand capacity too.”

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