Google announces $1B data center in Kansas City

Google Carbon reporting

Google has announced a $1 billion investment in a sprawling data center in Kansas City’s Northland, aiming to bolster its artificial intelligence initiatives. This project marks Google’s first data center in Missouri. Anticipated to create over 1,000 construction positions, officials project a total of more than 1,400 jobs, including those directly employed at the center, as well as roles in logistics and warehousing operations. Monique Picou, Google’s global vice president of cloud supply chain and operations, emphasized the broader employment impact, describing it as a “halo of jobs.”

“AI is the future,” Picou said at an announcement event at a warehouse near the site in Clay County that drew dozens of civic and business leaders. Google, she said, “wants to be good for all of you.”

The data center will play an essential role in supporting the company’s AI innovations and growing its cloud business, Google said. The data centers help power its digital services like Google Cloud, Workspace, Search and Maps for its worldwide users.

In a statement, Picou said an important “inflection point” has been reached for tech innovation like AI, with data centers serving as the “backbone of this progress.”

Google’s decision to locate its new data center campus at Hunt Midwest Business Center was the culmination of a long-term vision and teamwork involving various players, Ora Reynolds, president and CEO of Hunt Midwest, said in a statement. “Ten years ago, the Missouri legislature created economic development programs designed to give the state the tools to compete for valuable data center projects,” Reynolds said.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas thanked lawmakers “who did important work to ensure we have good tools to attract companies like this one.”

“Google, thank you for being part of our story and thank you for letting us be a part of yours,” Lucas said.

Parson and other officials cast the data center as a long time coming and the result of years of progress. “If you don’t build the infrastructure in our state, these businesses will not come,” Parson said, noting the emphasis he has placed on infrastructure during his time in office.

Google will work with Evergy to power the site and Ranger Power and D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments to bring 400 megawatts of new carbon-free energy to the grid as part of the company’s goal to run on carbon-free energy. Data centers have faced criticism for their large demand for electricity.

The global technology giant plans to expand its free Skilled Trades and Readiness (STAR) program to the region and contribute more than $100,000 to the North Kansas City School District’s alternative education STEAM center, which teaches science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

By collaborating with Google, students at North Kansas City Schools will benefit, said Superintendent Rochel Daniels.

“Our collaboration will expand students’ access to innovative learning experiences by further leveraging technology and connecting student interests to real-world issues. We are grateful for this opportunity and look forward to a continued relationship with Google,” Daniels said in a statement.

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