Let's be honest. It's all about the bragging rights. In the media biz, we try to "break" stories and then crow about who broke it to you first. A handful of sources confirmed to me that tomorrow morning Governor Chet Culver would announce Microsoft was building its half a billion dollar (or so) data farm in West Des Moines. I was pretty sure I knew exactly where the project would go, but I wanted to drive out there to check it out, just to be sure.
Man, that took a little more searching that I thought. Sources told me (don't you love how these "sources" don't let us use their names just yet?) it will go on the McKinney farm land on Xavier and Booneville Road south of Jordan Creek Mall. If my directions are correct (and, believe me, that is not my strong suit. Just ask my wife), I believe it's south of the MidAmerican Energy substation and east of Michael's Landing (Regency's ill-fated housing development). When you stand on the land, you almost think you're in the middle of the "country". But Michael's Landing is just a minute or so away. So is DMACC West's campus. Beach Girls strip club isn't far away either...from what I am told.
So this means West Des Moines beat out Urbandale for the project. Some Urbandale backers were telling me the West Des Moines would be too prone to flooding, something the West Des Moines backers deny. By my eye-balling, it also looks like West Des Moines' location is closer to the all-important energy substation that the Urbandale spot would be. West Des Moines also has Maffitt Lake Reservoir very close. I'm told the data farm needs a "lot" of power and water, so West Des Moines goes two for two on this. Or so the sources say.
One thing I didn't count on were all trucks. Dozens of trucks fly down the gravel road near the "development". My photographer and I were covered with dust. Not a good day to wear my new suit and tie. Good thing my shoes weren't new. Not they are just dusty.