Google to build new data centers in Central Ohio
Google is scaling its Central Ohio footprint with two more data centers in Columbus and Lancaster that will power development of AI and other user tools.
Why it matters: A tech giant choosing to expand here — bringing its investment in Ohio to more than $2 billion — reflects confidence in our region's emergence as a major tech hub.
- This choice is evidence the state has achieved a "critical mass of tech growth," Gov. Mike DeWine says, viewing each major announcement as paving the way for the next.
State of play: Fellow tech heavyweights Facebook and Amazon have also announced local data projects in recent years.
- Intel, meanwhile, continues work on its $20 billion chip factory in nearby Licking County.
Driving the news: Google announced plans on Wednesday to build the new data centers on South High Street near the Scioto Downs casino and off of State Route 33, west of Lancaster.
- The projects will create an unspecified number of construction jobs and around 50 permanent jobs at each data center to start, says Mark Isakowitz, Google's VP of government affairs and public policy.
- The company did not provide estimated sizes for the data centers or a timeline for completing them.
- It broke ground on a 275,000-square-foot New Albany data center in 2019.
How it works: Google's data centers feature mega computer networks that keep its search engine, cloud services and other user tools operating.
- One of these is Bard, an experimental AI chatbot Google launched in March.
- Data centers use an immense amount of power to function, but the company is working toward a goal of being carbon-free by 2030.
The intrigue: Google currently has 14 U.S. data centers spread out across 13 different states.
- For the company to place three in one area is "pretty rare," Isakowitz says.
The big picture: Elected officials and Google representatives tout Central Ohio's lower cost of living compared to coastal areas and the proximity of higher education pipelines like OSU.
- State and local governments have also rolled out a red carpet to companies looking to build here.
- Columbus City Council previously approved a 15-year, $54 million property tax abatement in anticipation of Google's data center construction near the casino, the Dispatch reported in 2021.
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