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Community Bulletin Board

Posted on: February 26, 2019

Positive Economic Impact of Google in Becker

Community Development - Copy (3)

Positive Economic Impact of Google in Becker 

This is an exceptionally important and exciting project, not just for the City of Becker, but also for what it means to the economic vitality of Sherburne County and the State of Minnesota. We believe the proposed project will have a critical positive impact and a lasting benefit to both our local community, region, and the State.

As you know, Xcel Energy intends to close two of the three coal units at the Sherco Generating Station by 2023 and 2026. This will result in a substantial number of job cuts and an extraordinary loss of tax base for the City, County and the Becker School District. For the community, the closing will mean the loss of 150 direct and 250 indirect and induced jobs in our area. Those 400 jobs have an annual impact of over $200,000,000 on the regional economy.

To prepare for the eventual closing, the City and County have been working closely with Xcel to create a state-of-the-art business park that will draw new businesses and capital investment into the area. Our collective goal has been to develop sites that will help facilitate our transition away from a coal-based economy, to a more diversified economy utilizing alternative energy sources. The key components of this planning effort have been to take advantage of the power sources immediately available, to bring necessary infrastructure to the area to encourage future growth, and to recruit an industry leader that is willing to develop a facility in the area that could serve as a catalyst for future growth. The proposed Google project ticks all of these boxes.

With our partners, we continue to analyze the major economic impact a Google date center can have. We highlight some of those impacts here to emphasize the importance of the project. If the project moves forward, Google intends to invest approximately $300,000,000 in construction costs alone, with an additional $300,000,000 invested in equipment. The project will create 2,300 construction jobs during a two-year construction phase and will employ 50 people full time when completed, with annual salaries totaling $4,000,000. We estimate that the project will have an over $7,000,000 annual impact on the County’s economy after completion.

In addition, as described in more detail in the petition, a Google data center often attracts other major technology-based companies to invest in the same area. Securing one of the few Google data centers in the country would not only provide an immediate boost the local economy, it would showcase our community and the State of Minnesota as a growing technology and data center market.

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of this project to our local community as we try to prepare for the eventual closing of Sherco coal units 1 and 2. At the same time, we recognize that Google’s site selection process is highly competitive and can be dependent on multiple site selection considerations. There is strong support for this project. The proposed Google data center represents the culmination of our collective efforts to obtain a major capital investment in the new Becker business center. It can also serve as a catalyst to attract future growth, helping the County and the City as we transition away from a coal-based economy.

Jet Stream LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Google LLC, has applied for a financial incentive from the City of Becker and Sherburne County for the proposed 375,000 square foot data center. While the request is to abate the new taxes from the increase in market value due to the new building construction, it is only the City and County portions being requested. The School District will benefit from any increase in taxable value from the project. The project will pay nearly $300,000 in school general and referendum taxes annually. The abatement request from both the City and the County is for 20 years, ensuring a long term legacy tax increase and partnership between both the company and the City and County. This partnership will allow for the community to grow and prosper as economic forces change our society to have a greater reliance on large amounts of data.

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