Google is look to expand its data center footprint in the The Dalles, in Oregon’s Wasco County.
Oregon Live reports that the company, through its Design LLC subsidiary, is looking to build two more data centers in The Dalles, as well as seeking access to more water and a new package of tax breaks as it looks to develop land it acquired in 2016.
Google acquired a 74-acre plot of land belonging to Northwest Aluminum in 2016, where the local Fort Dalles Rodeo Association had held its summer events since 1975. At the time the company reported that it had no plans to build on the site “in the immediate future.”
The company filed for a Strategic Investment Program tax break for the rodeo and aluminum smelter sites in The Dalles in February of this year, where it said it would invest up to $600 million.
The potential size of the data centers, as well as its current or expected water use, have not been shared.
Google has agreed to pay for upgrades to the local water utility in return for increased access to water. The company would pay the $28.5 million cost of the upgrade to the city’s water treatment and storage facilities under the agreement, which will be discussed at a city council meeting next week.
“As we explore our growth, we’re committed to the long-term health of the County’s economy and natural resources,” Google said in a written statement.
Public works director Dave Anderson wrote in a memo to the city council that future water demand in The Dalles could rise as high as 17.5 million gallons a day, up from a daily capacity of 9.9 million gallons now.
The city is 15 years into a 20-year plan for its water systems, Anderson wrote, and “did not anticipate the type of development” Google plans on the former smelter site. But as well as paying for upgrades, Google will reportedly be handing over some of the groundwater rights associated with its property to the city.
Mayor Richard Mays said a new tax deal with the company would require Google to pay about $57 million in property taxes and fees over two decades for the first of the new data centers, and approximately $66 million more over 20 years if it builds a second data center.
Three prior agreements have saved Google approximately $240 million since it opened its first data center in The Dalles 15 years ago, including $34 million in savings last year alone.
“We are getting a lot more money out of this deal than we were the first three combined,” said Mays, who helped negotiate the new tax deal. He said Google was open to paying more this time because the company wants to improve its image in The Dalles.
“They don’t mind doing that because of the public relations part of it,” Mays said. “One of the criticisms of the first deals was that Google wasn’t paying their ‘fair share’ of property taxes.”
The Dalles is home to Google’s first owned and operated data center, which opened in 2006. The company has since expanded its presence in the area and says it has invested more than $1.8 billion in the city.
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