Yahoo expanding in Quincy
Yahoo announced on Monday that it is expanding its Quincy data center, doubling the size of its current operation.
Construction is expected to start this week on the expansion, which will add about 300,000 square feet to Yahoo’s operation. The addition will be on 20 acres to the east of Yahoo’s current data center.
With the expansion, which should be operating by next summer, will come thousands of new servers and an unspecified number of new jobs, Yahoo announced.
“We’re excited to create new jobs as a result of this expansion,” Mike Coleman, senior director for data center operations at Yahoo, said in the press release that was released Monday morning on the social networking site Tumblr. “As of today, our Yahoo Quincy team numbers about 50 people, and we’ll add on new positions over the coming year.”
Yahoo’s Quincy data center, opened in 2007, is one of three the company owns and operates in the country.
“Our decision to expand our data center is a direct result of the unbeatable mix Quincy offers: impressive local talent, abundant renewable energy sources and Washington state’s commitment to creating an attractive business location,” Coleman said.
Pat Boss, a consultant with the Port of Quincy, told the Wenatchee World that the additional power for the expansion already has been allocated for Yahoo’s use.
“All these data centers reserved power ahead of time for future use,” Boss said. “These are smart people who forecast their power needs far into the future.”
Earlier this year, the state Legislature renewed existing data center sales and use tax exemptions that were to expire July 1. The tax incentives have been extended until 2024. The tax breaks cover sales and use tax exemption for server equipment and power infrastructure.
Commissioner Curt Morris of the Port of Quincy said the Yahoo expansion probably would not have happened without that tax incentive extension because several states are aggressively recruiting data centers. Morris thinks a couple more data centers will announce expansions in Quincy in the future. (Microsoft and Sabey are currently expanding their Quincy operations.)
“Without (the tax incentive), I don’t think we would have been competitive,” he said.
The City of Quincy encouraged the Legislature to renew the tax incentives.
“Yahoo’s decision to expand their data center in Quincy will create additional good paying technology jobs in Eastern Washington, not just Seattle,” Mayor Jim Hemberry said. “Our community fought for the tools to win the jobs created by new data centers. Yahoo’s decision proves the fight was worthwhile.”
Quincy, with its low energy costs and availability of land, continues to be one of the state’s, and the nation’s, primary data center markets. In a 2013 report, the Washington Research Council estimated that tech companies had built 2.5 million square feet of data center space in Central Washington. About 2 million square feet of that space was erected in Quincy, where, between 2006 and 2013, Yahoo, Microsoft, Intuit, Dell, Sabey Corporation, Vantage and Server Farm Realty all built data centers.
With the data centers have come increases in assessed values for the overall Quincy community.
In 2008, the Port of Quincy’s estimated assessed value hit above $1 billion for the first time, according to port numbers. The taxing district in 2008 was assessed at $1.2 billion.
Today, the Grant County assessor estimates that assessed value is $3.3 billion, for a growth of 13.8 percent over last year’s $2.9 billion estimated assessed value.
In comparison, the Port of Moses Lake’s estimated assessed value at this time is $3.6 billion, according to county numbers.
“Yahoo’s expansion will ensure that substantial property taxes paid by the new data center will be available to support our effort to create innovative learning opportunities for our students,” said John Boyd, Quincy School District superintendent. “The increased Yahoo presence will also allow us to continue our partnership to provide our students more opportunities to learn skills related to the data center industry”
Yahoo’s expansion in Quincy is a reflection of its commitment to the people in Quincy, Grant County and Washington, Coleman said.
“Over the years, we’ve developed wonderful and lasting relationships with the local community, not just through the jobs we’ve created, but also through our charitable contributions and volunteer initiatives,” he said.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, email@example.com