West Michigan Lands Largest Third-Party Data Center In Eastern U.S.

The new SUPERNAP data center will establish the beginning of a 2 million square-foot state-of-the-art, high-tech campus in West Michigan. (Credit: Switch)

It’s official: Las Vegas-based Switch will establish a new $5 billion SUPERNAP data center in Gaines Township in greater Grand Rapids, MI.

“Today, Michigan not only welcomes Switch, it welcomes an entire industry to the state,” said Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “I often remind our partners in the region that economic development is a team sport. This project epitomizes this. Without the assistance and support of countless elected officials, business and community leaders, Switch would not be coming to West Michigan.”

The Right Place brought together private business leaders and public elected leaders to land the project. The organization partnered with several key leaders, including The Grand Rapids Area Chamber and The Right Place Board of Directors. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, Speaker Kevin Cotter, Representative Rob VerHeulen, Representative Ken Yonker and Representative Winnie Brinks, as well as the sponsors of the legislation also helped the project come to fruition.

New Data Center Legislation

The decision was made final after legislation was approved by both the Michigan House and Senate and submitted to Governor Rick Snyder for signature. The state legislative changes not only welcome Switch to Michigan, but also enable the state to compete for the attraction of future high-tech companies. Senate Bills 616 and 617, sponsored by Senators Tonya Schuitmaker and Pete MacGregor, exempt all data centers and co-located businesses from the sales and use tax on data center equipment for 20 years. The legislation applies specifically to those companies in which data centers operations are the primary source of business, generating 75% or more of its revenue from the operation and business of a data center. The legislation does not include a personal property tax abatement, as communities have the ability to exempt taxes on a business per local review.

The Benefit of Inland Locations

Switch builds its SUPERNAP Prime interactive, super-scale facilities at inland locations that are still within the millisecond protocols needed to safely serve major markets without the obvious increased risk of natural disasters associated with coastline locations. Switch’s enterprise business clients will collectively place billions of dollars of equipment at these selected Prime hubs, which is why geographic safety is critical.

The Michigan SUPERNAP Prime will join those ranks and share the infrastructure attributes as well as follow the Switch site selection criteria. SUPERNAP Las Vegas is 7 milliseconds from Los Angeles and 14 milliseconds from San Francisco. SUPERNAP Tahoe Reno is 6 milliseconds from Silicon Valley and 14 milliseconds from San Diego. SUPERNAP Michigan will be 2 milliseconds from Chicago and 14 milliseconds from New York. Nevada is in the Pacific time zone and Michigan is in the Eastern time zone and the prime campus locations have low millisecond access to the largest people hubs in the U.S without being burdened with the high power prices, taxes and earthquake/hurricane risks associated with those cities.

The former Steelcase Pyramid will serve as the centerpiece of the new SUPERNAP data center. (Credit: The Right Place)

The new SUPERNAP data center will be located at the former Steelcase Pyramid in Gaines Township, establishing the beginning of a 2 million square-foot state-of-the-art, high-tech campus in West Michigan. The project will create over 1,000 badged IT professionals at the site. The campus will also create numerous local construction jobs over the estimated 10-year build out of the entire project.

The SUPERNAP Michigan will be the largest data center campus in the eastern U.S. and will serve the company’s current clients in geographic redundancy and new clients with national connectivity. The company’s clients include major internet companies and several Fortune-level enterprises. The campus will provide transformational infrastructure and serve the eastern U.S. by offering the only Uptime Institute rated Tier IV Gold carrier-neutral colocation data center location outside of the SUPERNAP facilities in the western U.S.

Switch’s 1,000 clients include eBay, Intel, Shutterfly, Machine Zone (Game of War), Amgen, Dreamworks, HP, Intuit, Hitachi, JP Morgan Chase, Sony, Boeing Cisco, EMC, Google, Amazon, Time Warner, Eli Lilly, Activision (Call of Duty) and Fox Broadcasting, among many others.