Lincoln, NE – September 8, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Gov. Dave Heineman today announced that the cities of Aurora, Kearney and South Sioux City have been selected to participate in a new initiative designed to develop new industrial power park sites ready for development in Nebraska.
Officials in each community will work with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) to develop shovel-ready sites that can be marketed as potential locations for data centers, high tech industries and companies with significant power needs.
“These projects open up new possibilities to recruit the kind of investment initially sparked by Yahoo!’s decision to expand in Nebraska and bring high paying jobs to our state,” Gov. Heineman said. “These are jobs that will help retain high quality workforce and attract new workers. Nebraska is competitive in this arena. Working with partners at the local level to develop these shovel-ready sites, we hope to provide Nebraska an even greater edge as other companies look for places to expand.”
DED is providing Community Development Block Grant funding to help each community build key infrastructure for high tech companies looking for shovel-ready sites. Communities may receive up to $50,000 for planning as part of a three-phase process for developing potential power park sites in Nebraska. Phases two and three require each community 1-to-1 matching funds to fully develop its site and related infrastructure.
Tim O’Brien, DED Business Development Manager, said, “Timing and infrastructure are critical in securing these projects. Sites need to be ready to go the minute we get the expansion commitment from industry leaders. Despite slowdowns in other industries, we get inquiries from companies and consultants every couple weeks. Many of these companies are laying the groundwork for when the capital market becomes stronger. Our work now ensures Nebraska will be well prepared to respond to these opportunities.”
Potential data center projects suitable for sites are major users of electricity, ranging from 100 to 200 watts of power per square ft. or more. A small facility of 10,000 square ft. will typically use more power than the demand of many small communities.
Nebraska is attractive to high-end power users due to power rates that are among some of the lowest in the nation, which helps companies maintain lower operating costs. Nebraska also offers a safe and secure location and a skilled labor force suitable for companies operating data centers and manufacturing advanced or renewable energy products.
In selecting communities for the power park initiative, DED reviewed applications from 13 communities. Officials visited potential sites in February and eight communities were selected as finalists. Two national consulting firms reviewed communities and proposed sites to determine the ability to provide critical infrastructure. Consultants chose the final three sites based on the availability of power, fiber optic connections and large acreages, as well as readily available and abundant water and sewer services.
Officials in Aurora, Kearney and South Sioux City will now finalize plans for developing and operating local power parks before the final stage of installing infrastructure and other upgrades to create a shovel-ready site. Each community has pledged significant local investments for these projects, which should be completed in the second quarter of 2010.
Officials with the city of Fremont assisted DED in developing the new power park program. Fremont is finalizing a shovel-ready site as a potential location for a data center project.
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CONTACT: Patty Wood, DED, 402-471-1559