Utah continues to gain momentum as a growth market for hyperscale computing. Google has purchased 300 acres of land for a future campus in Eagle Mountain, near where Facebook is currently building a huge data center campus.
“While we do not have a confirmed timeline for development for the site, we want to ensure that we have the option to further grow should our business demand it,” said a Google spokesperson.
Local officials said Google had discussed a potential investment of $1.2 billion to develop the site.
The company opened a Google Cloud Platform region in Salt Lake City last year, apparently leasing space from one of the city’s growing number of data center providers. The land buy suggests that the level of cloud activity will support a larger company-built campus, which typically involves at least $600 million in investment.
A campus in Utah would allow Google to continue building capacity across the Southwest, where it already operates campuses in Texas and Nevada and has purchased land in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa to add an Arizona presence. Facebook is pursuing a similar growth strategy, with facilities in Utah and Texas and newly-announced plans for a large campus in Mesa.
Data Center Growth in Salt Lake City
Eagle Mountain is just south of Salt Lake City, which now has several major data center campuses, including single-tenant sites for eBay and the National Security Agency (NSA), as well as a large multi-tenant campus operated by Aligned and multiple facilities for DataBank and Flexential. Newcomer Novva Data Centers recently opened a wholesale data center campus in West Jordan.
The Salt Lake City region sits on long-haul fiber routes, with affordable power and a climate that supports using fresh air for cooling for about 75 to 80 percent of the year, which reduces cooling costs. Salt Lake City’s cost profile has been boosted by economic incentives passed this year that opened sales tax abatements on data center equipment to tenants of colocation space.
Officials in Eagle Mountain said they worked with an array of stakeholders to create an attractive site for Google, including Utah County, the Alpine School District, Unified Fire Service Area, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah.
“Google choosing Eagle Mountain is a testament to the strength of our workforce and economy,” said Mayor Tom Westmoreland. “We hope they decide to build here and look forward to partnering with them in the future.”
Data center campuses provide economies of scale, enabling hyperscale operators to rapidly add server capacity and electric power as more workloads shift from in-house IT rooms into these massive server farms.
In February Facebook said it will expand its Eagle Mountain campus by more than 900,000 square feet with two new data centers, boosting planned development to five data center buildings.