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NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) — Amazon Web Services will receive a 30-year tax abatement to build at least half a dozen new data centers east of Columbus, which will eventually net the area about 100 new full-time jobs, New Albany City Council approved Tuesday night.
The six-member council voted unanimously to allow the city manager to enter into a community reinvestment area agreement with Amazon. Close to 440 acres, bought by Amazon’s IT service management subsidiary AWS in January, have been designated as a community reinvestment area — enabling Amazon to benefit from state and local tax incentives.
For the first 15 years, Amazon will be exempt from 100% of its property taxes, according to the 72-page agreement. The exemption will then decrease to 75% through year 30.
Merle Madrid, a public policy director for AWS, said Amazon’s near-decade in New Albany has encouraged it to continue investing in the city and the larger region.
“It’s been an incredibly easy place to do business,” Madrid said.
Amazon said in June it would substantially build out its data centers in central Ohio through an estimated $7.8 billion dollar investment by the end of the decade. The pledged funding for data centers rivals only Intel’s promised $20 billion for its eventual semiconductor manufacturing plants in terms of statewide private-sector investments, Gov. Mike DeWine said at the time.
The first phase of this proposed project will cost an estimated $3.5 billion total, according to the agreement.
Amazon, like Intel, is benefiting from its status as a “megaproject,” a category created through state legislation. Intel — which has said it will create 3,000 full-time roles through its eventual semiconductor manufacturing plants — received a 30-year, 100% property tax abatement. Amazon, in its incentives application, plans to create 105 full-time roles.
New Albany sees the tinier figure as a benefit.
“While data centers create high-quality jobs for the community, they typically have a limited number of employees, which means there is minimal impact on city services, traffic or the school population,” a city fact sheet read.
The jobs it does create will range in annual salary from $72,000 to $450,000, with the bulk coming in at about $120,000, according to the agreement. Amazon already has 578 full-time workers in Ohio.
Although AWS did not detail in June where exactly its new investments would be, NBC4 reported in February the same land owned by the Amazon subsidiary in Licking County was likely to become a data center hub.
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency wetland permit applications submitted by MBJ Holdings, a New Albany Co. affiliate, in November 2022 detailed proposals for sizable data centers with more than two dozen buildings on the same parcels Amazon purchased in January. At the time, an Amazon spokesperson declined to directly comment, adding that it doesn’t generally comment on its future projects or plans.
Construction on the data centers will begin in early 2025 and end in late 2030, according to the agreement.