Buffalo: Data center capital of America?

Fresh off Yahoo opening, Verizon mulls site here

Fresh off the ribbon cutting of a new Yahoo data center here, the Buffalo, N.Y., area may be girding for the arrival of yet another compute-intensive facility.

Fresh off the ribbon cutting of a brand new Yahoo data center here, the Buffalo, N.Y., area may be girding for the arrival of yet another compute-intensive facility.  

Yahoo opens 'chicken coop' green data center

Local reports state that telecom carrier Verizon is mulling the construction of a data center in Niagara County, just outside of Buffalo. A 160-acre parcel of land near a power plant is on the short list of possible sites, according to a story in Tuesday's Business First of Buffalo.  

It would be the second high-profile data center in the area in just the past couple of years. Yahoo opened its new, state-of-the-art facility in Lockport, N.Y., Niagara County, a week ago.

Companies are attracted to the Buffalo area's inexpensive hydroelectric power, thanks to its proximity to Niagara Falls, and a region relatively free of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and flooding. Buffalo has a cooler climate as well -- the region gets a generous amount of snowfall due to its location on the eastern end of the Great Lakes -- which is ideal for lowering the operating costs of a data center running hundreds of megawatts of power.

Development sites around the area are also "shovel-ready," meaning they have been excavated and completed the necessary soil and environmental quality reviews for construction. Companies receive tax incentives as well for locating here in the hopes of creating jobs and stimulating the local economy.

Buffalo's fortunes have sagged for decades with the disappearance of heavy industry and manufacturing jobs like steel and autos, and the business-unfriendly taxation of New York State government. Indeed, a bill winding its way through the New York legislature that seeks 40% of the proceeds for a sale, merger or joint venture established by a New York State company has Verizon wary of locating its new and existing operations in the state, according to the Business First article.

Still, data centers don't employ that many people. Yahoo is employing 125 at its new Lockport facility and Verizon estimates between 150 and 200 positions at its new data center.

Verizon has not yet established a timeframe for selecting a site, and beginning and completing construction of the new facility, according to the Business First piece. Verizon could invest up to $500 million in the data center, according to this story in Data Center Knowledge.  

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