$600 million dollar data center project moving forward

LINCOLN, Neb. The silicon prairie in Lincoln may have the chance to rapidly grow in the next few years, as an undisclosed company hopes to build a $600 million dollar data center campus in north Lincoln.

Wednesday the project cleared the first hurdle, as the Lincoln and Lancaster County Planning Commission approved the rezoning of a 590 acre lot.

The plot is off of Highway 77, near I-80. If it were to be rezoned that area would be able to accommodate up to two million square feet.

"The company came to us some time ago with an idea of different sites around the community,” said Pat Haverty, vice president with the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development. “Finally landed on this site here and we’ve been working through the due diligence of this site."

Officials say that this project has been in the works for the past 18 months. The plan would re-zone the lot from agriculture to industrial, for a data center.

"A data center is a lot of servers, they collect information. You think everything that you do on your phone, Facebook or some other company they’ve got to process all this data,” said Haverty. “These large data centers that’s where all that information goes, where it’s stored so they can retrieve it later."

Renderings from the company do exist but Haverty says the company does not have a set design in mind quite yet.

"We still don't know exactly what that is, their application said that they’ll be a maximum of two million square feet,” said Haverty. “590 acres is a very large parcel, I believe its somewhere around 25 million square feet."

As for what company is potentially coming to the capital city, Haverty couldn’t answer too much due to a nondisclosure agreement, but says if the project were to come to Lincoln it would be the first of its kind.

"It’s been a target for us mostly because of this high investment that these companies make and also the high paying technical jobs that go along with these," said Haverty.

The Nebraska Capitol Environs Commission will meet tomorrow and advise City Council about this project. Their role is to review new construction and to ensure that the capitol’s viewing corridors are not obstructed; in this case it’s the view coming into Lincoln on Highway 77. Representatives from the company interested in the land will also be in attendance.

Due to nondisclosure agreements, it is not known officially the company planning this project.

However the size and cost mirrors other Google data centers that are currently under construction.

In February, Google said it will invest $13 billion this year to expand data centers in the U.S. Including Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas and Nebraska.

Just last month Google announced its expanding a data center in Oklahoma at a $600 million dollar price tag. The company owns 800 acres northeast of Tulsa.

Also in June, Google broke ground on the Texas data center, southwest of Dallas at a cost of $600 million dollars.

Local media there report the plot of land in Midlothian at 375 acres.

Earlier this month, Google also broke ground on a $600 million dollar data center just outside of Las Vegas.

Since February, Google hasn't released any updates on the Nebraska data center project.