Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Microsoft to West Des Moines

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.


Anonymous said...

First of all, Dave. Maffit lake is a DES MOINES water source and not a WEST DES MOINES water source. Secondaly, WDM is lucky the flood didn't happen 3 weeks earlier before everyone did their due dil on that site. Bottom line --- WDM got lucky by the flood not happening sooner than it did. the work was already done and no one wanted to go back and do it all over again. Understandable. I'm lazy too.

Dave, check what the FIRM maps show for a flood area and then have someone from the Partnership show you the area that did flood. I'm sure they have photos. The area around the site flooded, but it wasn't supposed to either. So, if it isn't in a flood plain and there is a foot of water on it, does that mean that it is still not in a flood plain because FEMA says so?

How much do you think WDM had to throw in to lift the site up 5 ft?

....but overall, I am pleased that it is going somewhere that should see absolutely no more development. Did you see the parking lot of that little retail office building down there during the floods. Like a pond, Dave. Like a pond!


Dave Price said...

Thanks for your thoughts. I don't think I said Maffit is a WDM water source. It's DSM Water Works, I think. Great ideas, though, on the flooding. Thanks!