Data Center: Verizon mulls Niagara for data center

by David Bertola for Business First of Buffalo

A 160-acre parcel of land in Somerset, Niagara County near the AES power plant is on a short list of possibilities Verizon is considering as a place to build a new a data center.

Verizon spokesman John Bonomo said the company has around 250 data centers in varying sizes worldwide, and are used for different purposes including customer service, the company’s internal use, or to manage networks.

While Bonomo would not disclose how large the proposed data center would be or its construction cost, he said it could be used to for one or more of these purposes.

He said a total construction cost is not known at this time, nor is it known how the new site, wherever it gets built, would work among existing facilities.

Eventually, however, an estimated 150 to 200 could work there.

“When it’s fully developed, but not at the outset,” Bonono said, adding that Verizon needs to consider many things in its decision making process before deciding on a site.

“Things like taxes and the cost of power need to be weighed in to the decision-making process. One of the things we are looking at this particular location is cooler temperatures. When you employ a lot of equipment in a center, good cool temperatures lower your overall costs,” he said.

Bonono added one aspect that could hinder the project is a bill winding its way through the New York state Legislature.

“It is particularly troublesome to us,” he said.

The bill requires companies like Verizon, if they sell, merge operations, or go into a joint venture, to return 40 percent of the proceeds of a sale or merger to the state.

“That would have a dampening effect in our operations in the state,” Bonono said.

“We are trying to defeat the legislation, and the Partnership opposed it from the time it was proposed without it being specific to any project,” said Craig Turner, vice president of Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

“It’s a 40 percent tax, I don’t see how you can interpret it any other way,” said Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane. “And it’s specifically worded as if it applies only to Verizon.”

Turner added that the region is fresh off cutting the ribbon from the Yahoo! data center in Lockport and new legislation would kill a potentially larger project.

“This is a job-creating project we want to have here in Western New York,” Turner said of the Verizon project. “Other states are competing for it, and New York state wants to put limiting legislation on it, which detrimental to any type of progress we want to make.”


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