Wednesday, July 02, 2008

West Des Moines and Urbandale

Microsoft and the state of Iowa have finally announced we will have a new neighbor. Microsoft will build a data farm in central Iowa. The company isn't saying where yet. Actually, the company isn't really saying much at all to me yet. I've been calling Redmond, Washington for the last few months ever since a little birdie told me to watch for this deal. But the company spokeswoman has never returned my call. I sure hope that's not the way the company will do business here.

All the state is saying is that this new data farm will go in central Iowa. My sources tell me the decision is down to two cities, West Des Moines and Urbandale, although no city leader/official from either city will attach his/her name to a quote on this. Apparently, this is pretty sensitive stuff and no one wants to be the squealer that jeopardizes the deal. I get the feeling West Des Moines has the edge right now. But I wouldn't bet my shrinking 401K on it yet.

The Des Moines Register reports the data farm will be in excess of half a billion dollars. It has to be at least $200 million to qualify for some of the free bees from the state of Iowa. The legislature passed a provision giving a company that spent at least that much on a project tax breaks on computer equipment purchases and electricity. This project would seem to easily qualify. Duh...

Google is already opening a similar operation in Council Bluffs that should open next year. That one is a $600 million project. And those jobs pay $50 plus. So these seem like the good jobs our state needs to attract and keep "young" people here.

Yahoo, where are you? There's still room.

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