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Mystery data center that could bring $100M in infrastructure to Cedar Valley approved by all parties

By Liesl Nielsen, KSL.com  |  Posted May 23rd, 2018 @ 7:00pm


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EAGLE MOUNTAIN — A mystery data center could bring more than $100 million in infrastructure to Cedar Valley after it was approved to be built in Eagle Mountain.

The name of the company that hopes to build the data center is shrouded in secrecy, but state officials have confirmed it is one of the Fortune 100 — a list that includes Google, Facebook or Apple.

Now, it remains to be seen whether the unnamed company will choose Eagle Mountain as its new home.

“It’s still very much up in the air,” said Vale Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, during an appearance on KSL Newsradio’s "The Doug Wright Show."

If the city did manage to nab the center, projected to create 30-50 jobs, the company has promised to pay millions to expand the city’s infrastructure to accommodate their project, which would, in turn, expand Cedar Valley’s as well, according to Ifo Pili, Eagle Mountain city administrator.

Eagle Mountain has worked for several years to attract data centers — a plan officials say works well for the more isolated city — and this one could be a big win. Eagle Mountain, Unified Fire Authority and Utah County Commission previously approved the project. The Alpine School District and Central Utah Water Conservancy District voted in favor of the project Wednesday afternoon — with a few caveats.

The state would grant the mystery company an estimated $150 million in tax breaks for the project’s first phase, with taxes waived for up to 20 years per phase. Those tax breaks may include hundreds of millions of more dollars if the company decides to continue to build on its lot of 480 acres.

The officials who voted on the project chose to approve it if the state could implement a 40-year cap on the agreement. With their approval, the project is ready to move forward if the Fortune 100 company chooses Utah.

According to Hale, the Beehive State is on the shortlist for the “very competitive project.”

The project would be especially beneficial for Eagle Mountain, which would see a 1,000 percent return on investment and $100 million in infrastructure, according to a fiscal impact study commissioned by the city.

“We come before you with a data center, but not just any data center. The biggest to ever land in the history of the state,” Pili said during a meeting with the Utah County Commissioner’s office.

Utah County Commission Chairman Nathan Ivie expressed concern during the meeting that the company might “pull up shop and leave before they have to pay a dime in taxes,” but ultimately voted in favor of the project because of the positive impacts it could have for the city and surrounding area.

The city’s estimated tax revenues could increase to nearly $840,000 for the project’s first phase annually over 20 years and could increase the county’s power grid by 48 percent, according to the study.

“It will really help provide fantastic infrastructure for Cedar Valley,” said Theresa Foxley, president and CEO of Economic Development Corporation of Utah, during her appearance on KSL Newsradio’s "The Doug Wright Show." “We’re hoping to have an announcement in the very near future.”

Liesl Nielsen, KSL.com
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