Google on Friday announced a $600 million expansion of its Lenoir data center, a development state and local officials trumpeted as proof of North Carolina’s attractiveness to high-tech companies.
Officials also said Google intends to join a new Duke Energy program aimed at getting major power consumers to use renewable energy.
The news came little more than six years after the California-based Internet search giant broke ground at its 215-acre site in Caldwell County. The company, which had said it planned to expand on its initial $600 million investment, broke ground Friday on a third building on the campus.
That brings Google’s North Carolina investment to $1.2 billion.
“It’s great news for Caldwell County and our state,” Gov. Pat McCrory said.
The expansion won’t immediately create new technology jobs, however. About 150 people work at the data center, most of whom were hired locally. A Google spokesman said the company will eventually hire more workers, but he didn’t have any numbers to share Friday.
To land Google in 2007, North Carolina officials offered 30 years of state and local tax breaks potentially worth more than $260 million – one of the richest incentives deals in state history. Critics said the state gave up too much for a facility that would employ so few people.
By comparison, the deal announced last month to bring insurance giant MetLife and 2,600 jobs to North Carolina called for nearly $100 million in incentives.
Caldwell County officials suggested Google was well worth the price tag, noting that the company’s presence has reinvigorated the public image of a region that has suffered greatly from the decline in the manufacturing sector.
They said Friday’s news solidifies the area’s standing as the epicenter of the state’s growing data center corridor. Apple built a data center in Maiden, while Facebook has one in Forest City.