The state of Alabama recently closed a $600 million deal with technology giant Google. While some worry that the big name will overshadow smaller businesses native to Alabama, most are happy to see some money being pumped into their economy.
The deal comes after a bill passed in 2012 which gave incentives to data centers, according to the Birmingham Business Journal, and a recent lobby by the secretary of the Department of Commerce to upgrade incentives for business in or relocating to Alabama. The deal is a $600 million investment for a global data center in Jackson County. Google will be taking over 350 acres near Scottsboro, where the Widows Creek coal plant is currently being decommissioned. The land is owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority at this time.
The project was first proposed in September of last year, well before the state was talking about incentives. At the time, all they knew was that there was a $600 million investment coming for a data center; they were not given a company name, but they knew they wanted to bring it to Alabama, since it would be a huge step for Alabama commerce.
State officials see having the Google brand as an opportunity to grow in the technology industry. American businesses are making about $1.2 million every 30 seconds via e-commerce; if Alabama could improve their technology industry, they can capitalize on those numbers, therefore improving the entire state economy.
In the spring, the deal was officially in the closing stages, due in some part to the incentives brought forth by the Alabama Jobs Act. The state’s approach is to take money out of this investment to provide tax abatements, rather than taking money out of revenue streams or their budget. The smarter approach will have a lasting impact on the Alabama economy.
The project, which does not have a timeline yet, will provide tax abatements for up to 30 years, in addition to creating 75 to 100 jobs in the Jackson County area.