Sandoval: $1B Switch data center coming to Reno area

Jason Hidalgo, RGJ 10:52 a.m. PST January 16, 2015

switch2Las Vegas-based Switch plans to build a 3 million square-foot data center project in Northern Nevada, Gov. Brian Sandoval announced in his State of the State speech Thursday evening.

“Switch is scheduled to expand to Northern Nevada, bringing $1 billion of investment with it,” Sandoval said during his State of the State speech. The company will also invest an additional $1 billion to expand its existing operations in Las Vegas.

The project is considered a big win among economic development circles for a region that has focused on diversifying away from gaming, tourism and construction after the recession. Switch’s “supernap” project also includes the development of a fiber optic network that will connect Reno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco — something the company calls a “superloop” and will dramatically increase the speed information can travel among the cities.

The announcement continues a string of major economic development victories for Northern Nevada, which includes landing Tesla Motors’ $5 billion gigafactory battery plant late last year and Apple’s $1 billion data center in 2012. And like those companies, Switch’s data center expansion will include a tax incentive deal, according to a state economic development official.

The data center campus will be built in phases on a 1,000-acre site — about the same acreage for Tesla Motors’ gigafactory site — at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center just east of Reno. Switch expects the overall project to take five to 10 years but its first facility should be open by the second quarter of 2016, said Adam Kramer, vice president of government and public affairs for the company.

Kramer did not give an employee headcount and average salary for the Northern Nevada site. Kramer did say that Switch employs 400 people at its Southern Nevada data center, which will expand from its current 2 million square feet to 3.5 million square feet. The Las Vegas operation also has an additional 5,000 people who work on the site for Switch’s clients.

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