It is official: Google will soon have a home in Midlothian.
Ellis County Commissioners approved a 10-year tax abatement agreement with the technology giant for a new data center at its Tuesday morning meeting. The investment by Google could total up to $500 million.
Google was listed as Sharka LLC on the agenda, which the City of Midlothian formally announced to be Google through its official Facebook Page.
Larry Barnett, Midlothian President and CEO of Economic Development, stated the data center will have a tremendous impact countywide through investments and resources for residents.
“The project is for a data center that will be built in phases. Each phase will be $500 million, each,” Barnett said. “The project — at a minimum — will employ 40 jobs. If you look at data centers around the country, they will generally employ more than 40, but they are not a huge employer from a direct employment standpoint. The employment comes from the spin-off from that activity.”
According to documents provided by Ellis County, the abatement is for 10 years and begins Jan.1 of the year following the City of Midlothian issuing a certificate of occupancy.
The abatement agreement also notes Google must invest a minimum of $500 million in its facilities and have a minimum of 40 full-time employees by the end of the fifth year of occupancy. There is no limit on the number of phases to the project, and the abatement applies to all phases.
Barnett stated Google purchased 375 acres in the Railport Business Park in May 2017 and the city has worked with the company on items such as infrastructure. Railport is located on U.S Highway 67.
The Midlothian City Council approved a similar 10-year tax abatement agreement with Sharka, LLC — later revealed as Google — at its May 22 meeting.
Through the agreement, 100 percent of personal property and 85 percent of improvements would be eligible to be abated.
“The data center will bring technology to the area that we have not had in the past. It opens up that diversification of industry. It also brings some new skills to the area,” Barnett said. “Over the past six and a half years that I have worked in Midlothian, I have talked to people off and on who have careers in the computer business but have to drive out of town to work. This at least provides an opportunity, and we have seen that for sometimes that technology would bring opportunity for our citizens.”
Barnett stated that Google would be involved in the school system and will promote STEM education.
Barnett added the project and agreement are structured in a way for Google to develop its new home over several phases.
Commissioner Paul Perry, Precinct 3, stated project will have a significant impact on the area.
“I think that this is a really good opportunity for that county,” Perry said. “I am very much in agreement that is an opportunity that we don’t want to miss.”
Commissioner Kyle Butler, Precinct 4, shared Perry’s thoughts about the project.
“I second those feelings, especially with the growth,” Butler said. “It is good to have the technology right in your backdoor supporting it.”
Google LLC employed 85,050 people as of the, according to a press release issued by the technology giant following the first quarter of fiscal-year 2018. Statista.com, a statistics portal, Google's total revenue in 2017 was reported at $109.7 billion.
Ellis County Judge Carol Bush stated Google will be a great corporate partner for the community.
“I think that it has an incredible economic benefit and impact,” Bush said. “As we discussed in the court setting, the educational opportunities and partnerships with the school districts for STEM training, I think, opens up a lot of doors for Ellis County.”
According to a Dallas Business Journal article Andrew Silvetri, head of public policy and community relations for the central U.S. at Google stated there is not a confirmed timeline for development for that site.
Additional reporting by David Dunn.