Microsoft plans a 6th data center in West Des Moines
Microsoft Inc., the Washington-based technology giant, plans to build a sixth data center in West Des Moines, the City Council learned Monday.
The proposed data center is planned on about 103 acres on the southwest corner of Veterans Parkway and Southwest 60th Street, which is in Madison County. Few other details about the proposed project were shared with the council.
“We anticipate closing on the property within the next couple weeks,” Paul Englis, a Microsoft representative, told the council. “Once that work is completed, then we will commence with the planning work with the city staff and the planning board through which we will submit the site plan and begin evaluation of what actually will be built on that particular project.”
The state’s City Development Board on Nov. 8 approved a request to annex the land into West Des Moines.
The City Council on Monday approved the first reading of an ordinance that would establish the area as light industrial zoning. The second and third readings of the ordinance are expected to be approved at the council’s Dec. 4 meeting.
Carole Reichardt, whose family owns Sargent Farms at 3320 110th St., raised concerns about the proposed data center development during the council meeting. Sargent Farms, which includes about 150 acres, is immediately south of where the data center is proposed to be built. Over the past two decades, the family has enlarged a pond on the property, built a cabin, added an orchard, organic berry crop and large garden. Bees are raised on the land, she said.
“Our family intends to continue the use for now, but in the future, we see it being developed for residential use, incorporating a lot of the principles and values that we’ve put forth on this land already,” Reichardt said. “We’ve envisioned this residential development being an amazing and highly sought after residential area for the city, but it will be lost for us and for the potential use of the city with such a large data center just across the street.”
Reichardt asked that the city include the family in the site planning of the proposed data center and to consider requiring stringent regulations to keep the center from adversely impacting surrounding properties.
City Council members directed the city’s staff to keep Reichardt and her family informed about the planning process and to include them in discussions about the site plan.
Microsoft started building data centers in West Des Moines about 14 years ago. The tech giant’s fourth and fifth data centers – Ginger East at 1475 S.E. Maffitt Drive and Ginger West at 11100 Booneville Road – are currently under construction. When completed, the two data centers are expected to each have about 1.8 million square feet of data center space and cost about $1 billion each to develop.
The three other Microsoft data centers located in West Des Moines are Project Alluvion at 550 S.E. White Crane Road, Project Osmium at 5855 S.W. Kerry St., and Project Mountain at 8855 Grand Ave.