The two data centers, combined with its one in New Albany, will play a significant role in Google’s central Ohio portfolio as one of the fastest-growing regional hubs. Google said in a news release its investments in Ohio now total over $2 billion.
The tech behemoth announced in 2021 its investment to build out the existing New Albany data center, which it broke ground on in 2019, and to purchase land in Columbus and Lancaster for future growth. Those two plots of land it bought two years ago will now officially serve as the sites for the future centers announced Wednesday.
The Columbus data center will sit on the Far South Side at the former site of Hartman Farm — located at 5076 S. High Street near Scioto Downs. That 480-acre plot of land was purchased for more than $30 million in May 2021, according to the Franklin County Auditor’s Office.
Former farmland along Whiley Road and just off of U.S. Route 33 will serve as the site for the Lancaster data center, according to both online data center tracking resource Baxtel and Fairfield County Auditor’s records. The 120-acre plot of land was purchased for close to $4 million in August 2021.
Construction has already commenced at the two new locations, according to Google. Once it concludes, the data centers will feed information for Google projects, from artificial intelligence to search and email tools.
A spokesperson for Google said Wednesday afternoon the two projects will likely hire around 1,000 construction workers during peak construction, but declined to say how many full-time data center workers will be needed in the facilities once they are live.
That figure could be less than 20, according to an earlier NBC4 Investigates story about tax breaks Google was receiving from the state.
Federal, state, and city leaders — including Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Reps. Troy Balderson (R-OH 12) and Mike Carey (R-OH 15) — attended an announcement event held at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce in downtown Columbus.
“It sends an incredible message to our kids,” Balderson said. “We don’t have to go to California or to the East Coast for high-paying jobs in technology. Central Ohio offers the same, and better, opportunities for those technologies to be driven here.”
Mark Isakowitz, Google’s vice president of government affairs and public policy for U.S. and Canada, said its data centers are “critical” to Google’s future investments in various tech tools, like its Cloud.
“We don’t just want to invest in the states that we call home. We want to be good neighbors,” Isakowitz said.
Central Ohio tech growth in recent years has largely manifested through these data centers — or facilities that house data infrastructure.
Amazon Data Services, which already boasts several data centers in the region, in January bought close to 400 acres of land at three connected plots along Beech Road touching the Franklin County border. Those purchases came out to more than $116 million, according to auditor’s records.
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency wetland permit applications — submitted by MBJ Holdings in November — detailed proposals for sizable data centers with more than two dozen buildings on the same parcels of land along Beech Road.
At the time, a spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment on the purchases or any plans for it.