Fidelity Investments picks Papillion for $200 million data center -
Published Friday, October 12, 2012 at 9:56 am / Updated at 5:02 pm
Fidelity Investments picks Papillion for $200 million data center

The mystery company behind “Project Photon,” the $200 million Papillion data center project, was revealed Friday as the global financial firm Fidelity Investments.

Fidelity is a major provider of financial services with operations around the world, and chose the Papillion location near 114th Street at Cornhusker Road because it allows the company flexibility to build to its specifications and to accommodate growth in the future, Steve Scullen, president of corporate operations for Fidelity, said in a statement.

The company particularly cited the state's low power rates, central U.S. location and array of available incentives.

The project marks the first case of a corporation taking advantage of new state law passed as LB 1118 to created an additional “Tier two” to the Nebraska Advantage incentives, allowing for benefits to be given for large data center projects.

Construction on the project is to begin immediately with hopes that it will be fully operational in 2014. Once the project is complete, it will employ 30 to 35.

“To have Fidelity Investments, an outstanding company, utilize the Nebraska Advantage incentive helps us set the bar for other quality companies weighing location considerations for future data center projects,” said Gov. Dave Heineman said in a release announcing the project.

He said the Nebraska Department of Economic Development worked with Sarpy County, the City of Papillion, Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership and Omaha Public Power District to meet Fidelity's needs. The company had multiple site options, including rennovating existing some of its own data centers, a Fidelity spokeswoman said.

Fidelity said the data center will be environmentally friendly, with construction designs that will outfit the project according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

“Omaha was the most attractive option for us,” said Jenny Engle, the spokeswoman. Adding that the Nebraska Advantage incentives “certainly made the state an attractive location.”

The Omaha metro area's “affordable and reliable” power infrastructure, low utility costs, and positive business climate were also important factors in Fidelity's decision, Engle said.

“OPPD's nationally-competitive rate structure and recognized quality of service were crucial in our combined efforts to attract this project,” said David Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.

Papillion Mayor David Black said the project and associated infrastructure are significant to Papillion's growth. “Not only are we adding a good business and industry, but the water and sewer extensions can help accelerate the natural growth in the western part of our jurisdiction.”

Sarpy County already has approved a $2.9 million contract to pave a one-mile stretch of 114th Street from Lincoln to Centennial Road and Cornhusker Road east and west of 114th Street, said Sarpy County Board Chairman Rusty Hike.

He noted that the Fidelity project joins other data centers attracted to Sarpy County including Yahoo!, Cabela's and the two CoSentry locations at the Southroads Technology Center and Midlands Data Center.

Metrowide, the Fidelity project is smaller than both Google's $600 million and latest $300 million data centers in Council Bluffs and Yahoo's in LaVista, but it is expected to be larger than others, including the 80,000-square-foot Scott Technolgy Center that was renovated this year.

A second, larger data center looking at Nebraska, dubbed “Project Edge,” is on hold, according to those involved in the recruitment process. That $1.2 billion project, rumored to be Facebook, was looking at at site near Kearney, Neb., as well as sites in Iowa.

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