Las Vegas Sun

July 19, 2019

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Officials: $600M Google facility boosts Henderson’s presence in tech world

Google's New Henderson Data Center

Christopher DeVargas

From left, Andrew Sylvestri, Google’s head of data center public policy, Gov. Steve Sisolak, U.S. Rep. Susie Lee, Sen. Jacky Rosen, Jacquelline Fuller, vice president Google and president of Google.org, and Henderson Councilman Dan Shaw participate in a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of Google’s new data center in Henderson, Monday July 1, 2019.

Henderson will soon become a landmark in the infrastructure of the internet with the construction of a massive new Google data center, set to come online in 2020.

Nevada state leaders joined Google officials to break ground today on Nevada’s first-ever Google data center in Henderson. The $600 million, 64-acre facility is slated to bring in several dozen high-paying jobs, including engineers, technicians and electricians.

Google's New Henderson Data Center

Google announces a partnership with the city of Henderson on the development of a new data center located off of Warm Springs Road on Monday July 1, 2019. Launch slideshow »

The data center will be spread between two parcels on West Warm Springs Road, east of Boulder Highway. The facility will primarily serve Google customers in North America, and will help support applications like YouTube and Google Maps, officials said.

“Henderson will be one of the greatest engines of the internet,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “Google’s investment will create opportunities for this community to be at the forefront of innovation.”

Google.org President Jacquelline Fuller said the facility would house some of the most complex technology in the world, including artificial intelligence.

She added that the Henderson project was part of a larger effort by Google to spread its facilities outside the Bay Area. In February, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company would invest $13 billion in data centers and offices around the U.S. across 14 states. This marks the second year that Google grew faster outside the Bay Area than within it, Pichai noted.

“This growth will allow us to invest in the communities where we operate, while we improve the products and services that help billions of people and businesses globally,” he wrote in a February blog post.

Fuller, a Nevada native, said she was particularly proud to see a data center being built in her home state.

“As we invest in data centers, we understand it’s not just about building the structure, it’s not just about the business relationship, it’s also about being a good citizen and getting to know our hometowns, and being a good and vibrant local partner,” she said.

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., who started her career as a computer programmer and systems analyst, said the groundbreaking marked a major investment in Nevada’s future.

“With this new development, we are taking our state up a notch with cutting-edge technology,” she said.

Rosen said the investment would also bring the state’s science, technology, math and science opportunities “up a notch.”

“This is the way that we build Nevada,” she said. “This is the way we build stronger communities that we all live in.”

Nevada state officials see the investment as a win-win for both the company and the state, which is why the Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved $25.2 million in tax breaks for Design LLC, Google’s construction company. Design LLC, will own the facility while Google will handle the general operations and hiring.

Andrew Silvestri, Google's head of public policy and community development, said Henderson stood out to Google because of the city’s partnerships with other corporations, such as Levi Strauss & Co., Ocean Spray, Ford Motor Credit and Toyota Financial Services, as well as the skill sets of the citizens in the area.

“Nevada has just proven itself over the years as being a hub of innovation, a hub of the spirit of entrepreneurship,” he said. “We really see this as a hub of technology and we’re excited to be part of that.”

In its application for construction, Design, LLC, said the state’s tax abatements also were a critical factor in its decision. “While many other factors played a significant role in the location decision, including workforce, availability of a suitable project site, and utilities considerations, without the availability of the abatements offered by the State of Nevada, the state would not have been a competitive location for the project,” according to the application.

Henderson City Councilman Dan Shaw said the facility would generate more than $94 million for the city over the next 20 years.

“It would go to support police, fire, parks and recreation, education and all kinds of different opportunities for this city,” Shaw said

Henderson Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Scott Muelrath said he hoped the Google project would entice other companies to set up a home base in Henderson.

“They’re an industry leader,” he said. “It’s like having the Raiders build a corporate headquarters in Southern Nevada. From a sporting standpoint, this is the technology equivalent. A giant win.”

The facility also aims to bring in at least 50 tech jobs paying an average salary of $62,000 a year, officials said. Silvestri said Google would make every effort to hire locally.

“It’s one of the reasons why we work so closely with the school districts we live in and operate in,” he said. “Our employees live and work here, our kids will go to school here. We are eager to start working with the schools to create these pipelines to be able to develop these opportunities for people who live here locally.”

Fuller said Google’s investment in the state would extend beyond the data center. She announced today that the company was launching a $1 million Google.org Impact Challenge, which invites nonprofits across the state to compete for grant funding as well as Google’s training and tools.

“We’ll be investing in five local organizations,” she said. “They’ll be getting $175,000 each to build their mission.”

Rosen said Google’s investment in the data center and nonprofits would make a huge impact in the community.

“Anybody here who has been involved in philanthropy or nonprofits, you know how much they struggle, and you know how much good they do,” she said. “This is really going to be an amazing jumpstart for some of them.”