March 21--LOCKPORT -- Yahoo announced today that it intends to construct a second data center, almost as large as its existing one, and a customer call center in the Town of Lockport Industrial Park.
The $168 million project would include 115 jobs, 100 of them to be located in the call center.
The Internet giant is asking for an 18-year tax abatement that would include 10 years of not having to pay any property taxes at all, town economic development director David R. Kinyon said. It's the same deal Yahoo received for its original data center that opened in 2010 and employs 77 people.
Also, Yahoo is seeking a sales tax exemption on building materials and equipment and furnishings to be placed inside the new 150,000-square-foot complex, to be erected on 13 acres of land Yahoo bought from the town IDA last year, a short distance east of the existing 190,000-square-foot complex.
Kinyon said the estimated amount of tax savings for the company hasn't been estimated, but it will be by the time the town Industrial Development Agency board holds a public hearing on the tax break request. That is set for 9 a.m. April 25 in Town Hall. Kinyon said he didn't know if the board will vote that day.
Since Lockport doesn't have a town-wide property tax, most of the tax benefits will be given up by the Lockport City School District and Niagara County.
Paul Bonaro, data center facilities manager at Lockport, said Yahoo executives "are excited about the opportunity to come here. They're excited about the opportunity to establish a campus. They're buying all the way into this project. Yahoo is going to see it through. The pump is primed for future growth here."
Bonaro said the exact size and location of the call center, which Yahoo prefers to call a "customer contact center," haven't been determined. But he said it will definitely be built somewhere on the 43 acres of land Yahoo owns in the industrial park.
It is located off Junction Road, west of the GM Components plant.
Lockport IDA Chairman Thomas A. Sy said Yahoo's application includes a $15 million construction cost estimate for the call center.
Town attorney Daniel E. Seaman of Lockport, N.Y., said the Yahoo application assumes that the tax break will apply to the call center, although IDA board member Duncan N. Carlson said he'd like to see a definite construction timetable for the call center.
Yahoo spokeswoman Suzanne Philion said the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees approved an allotment of low cost power today. A spokesman from Gov. Cuomo's office said earlier that the company was due to receive 7.2 megawatts.
Yahoo originally purchased 30 acres in Lockport for its current Northeast U.S. data center, which consists of five "pods," each 40 feet high, and an administration building.
Bonaro said the expansion project will have three pods that will look about the same -- Sy likened them to "chicken coops" -- but will be "longer and larger" than the existing five pods.
"The architecture works very well. It's very efficient," Bonaro said.
Half of of the middle pod will be devoted to an administrative facility that will be larger than the 25,000-square-foot administrative center in the existing facility, Bonaro said.
The two complexes will be connected by a footpath, Bonaro said.
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