Charleston Regional Development Alliance

Berkeley, Charleston & Dorchester Counties

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Google Inc. officially announces plans to open data center in SC

Apr. 4, 2007
For Immediate Release
Gov. Mark Sanford and Google Inc. today officially announced plans for the company to open a facility in Berkeley County, South Carolina. Google Inc. will invest $600 million and create 200 jobs initially at the Mt. Holly data center. Berkeley County is a part of the Charleston metropolitan area.

"We are so pleased to formally announce our presence in South Carolina and our plans to build a data center. The Governor, Department of Commerce, and Berkeley County officials have been wonderfully helpful during our evaluation. We look forward to growing our business and becoming an active member of the Berkeley County community," said Lloyd Taylor, Director of Global Operations, Google Inc.

Google Inc. applied for the state's Job Development Credits (JDC) and was approved by the Coordinating Council for Economic Development. The JDC program is a performance-based incentive directly related to new job creation and new capital investment. The first million dollars of JDCs may be advanced if Google elects from the Governor's closing fund, which is a fund approved by the state legislature for economic development efforts. This funding will reimburse the company partially for site preparation and infrastructure. In addition, the state legislature updated the state tax code to exempt the electricity and the capital investment in equipment necessary for this kind of a facility used in the web search portal and internet service provider industries from sales tax, just like what is done for the manufacturing sector.

The data center will be constructed on a 520 acre site, which was purchased from Mt. Holly Commerce Park, LLC., an innovative economic development joint venture between Alcoa and Berkeley County, by a Google subsidiary last year. The jobs being created at this facility will be spread over 24 hours, leaving a minimal impact on local traffic congestion during peak travel hours while providing immediate, day one positive economic returns for the community.

"This announcement is a positive sign that our efforts to improve the state's business climate are paying dividends when it comes to attracting high tech, knowledge-based industries that will enable us to further compete in the global economy," Gov. Sanford said. "Given the stature of this company and the magnitude of this investment, this is a real win for South Carolina that will have a tremendous impact on the local and state economy. It's also important to note that as we work to attract new investment and create jobs, our administration has consistently believed in doing so in a way that preserves our quality of life. Because of the way these shifts are spread over 24 hours, we're able to achieve growth in this case with a much smaller impact on traffic than would otherwise be the case, something that impacts quality of life not just in Berkeley County, but in other parts of the Lowcountry as well."

Google Inc. will pay an estimated $1.96 million annually in property tax to Berkeley County. This revenue is the equivalent of the property tax collected annually from 1000 homeowners with homes valued at $200,000. Google also will pay millions in sales taxes on construction and numerous other purchases.

"Google is a household name and a world leader in technological innovation. South Carolina's ability to attract this type of industry and investment will yield substantial results for our state. Today's announcement is the result of a team effort from the state level to the local officials in Berkeley County. Thanks to the commitment of all parties involved, Berkeley County and the entire state will see numerous benefits for many years to come," said Joe Taylor, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce. "We have enjoyed a positive working relationship with Google from the beginning. Google was upfront about what they needed to make this work and we were upfront about what we could do. We are very glad we could make it come together to bring a marquee name like Google to our state."

Google Inc. has made a concentrated effort to use as many local vendors and suppliers as possible so that the economic impact of this investment will have the greatest benefit. In fact, the company has hired local engineering and construction firms for the preparation and building of the data center site so that this investment becomes not just an economic entity, but also a good neighbor in the community.

"We are elated to welcome Google to Berkeley County," said Berkeley County Supervisor Daniel Davis. "With this and other recent announcements, information technology is now a key sector of our county's economy. We're very proud to have this world-class company among our corporate citizens."

"This state-of-the-art operation will bring tremendous economic opportunity to residents and businesses in the Charleston area," said Bill Finn, Chairman, Charleston Regional Development Alliance. "The international recognition of the Google brand will also solidify our reputation as a top location for innovation and technology."

Similar projects by the internet search engine leader have led to significant economic activity creating a positive multiplier effect in regions where Google Inc. has established. Following the announcement of a 30 acre Dalles, Oregon facility in 2005, new family-owned enterprises were developed, unemployment fell from one of the highest levels in the nation to below 5 percent, and new residents were attracted to the region.

Google Inc. confirmed last month that it is also evaluating a site near Columbia, South Carolina and that the two sites are not in competition with one another. The Richland County site is currently in the permitting process. Once permitting is complete, Google Inc. will evaluate the site to make its future determinations.

Kara Borie, SCDOC, 803.737.1998
Barry Schnitt, Google, 650.740.5293
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