GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. — After years of vacancy and a deal that didn't quite go through, it looks like a new chapter is about to start for the iconic 'Steelcase Pyramid' in Kent County.
State lawmakers are working hard to approve tax incentives that would give West Michigan the win in a race to secure a multi-billion dollar investment, with a company out of Nevada called Switch.
The data center is looking to build a $5 billion, 2 million square-foot SUPERNAP data center at the former Steelcase office building.
The deal is contingent on the passage of three bills currently in the Michigan legislature.
The $5 billionfigure reflects the costs for both the data centers and the computer servers that will be placed inside the buildings over a multi-year period, according to the company. SUPERNAP Michigan will be the largest data center campus in the eastern U.S. and will serve Switch’s current and new clients.
FOX 17 spoke with James VanderMey Monday afternoon, the co-owner of Open Systems Technologies in Grand Rapids, who works to provide companies like Johnson Controls, Steelcase and NASA with data service centers much like 'Switch SUPERNAP'.
VanderMey says, not only will Switch create lots of jobs in West Michigan, it'll act as an incubator for other companies around the state.
"Switch SUPERNAP Data Centers are the best commercial data centers in the world. They're extraordinarily sophisticated, they have hundreds of patents, this is really the industry leading company," VanderMey said. "This is now a facility that will host companies like Ebay, Amazon, the internet scale companies of the world that's really an opportune to bring that to Grand Rapids."
Vandermey says a data center of this size attracts big name clientele and provides companies digital storage in need of Switch's cloud space.
"We see it as a positive because the kind of services Switch will provide to its customers are the kinds of services we can leverage to create new products for our clients," Vandermey said.
Switch says they have 1,000 clients, including eBay, Intel, Shutterfly, Amazon, HP, JP Morgan Chase, Google, Amazon, Fox Broadcasting and many more.
“We are excited to be working with Governor Snyder, the Michigan Legislature, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and The Right Place, Inc. to bring Switch and its 1,000+ clients that make up the largest data center ecosystem in the world to Michigan,” said Executive Vice President of Strategy for Switch, Adam Kramer in a press release.
But according to Birgit Klohs, the President and CEO of The Right Place, it's not a done deal yet.
"Until this legislation is passed, there is no deal, nothing has been signed, no building has been sold, no contract has been signed, no one's been hired," she said.
Klohs says legislators need to act fast because West Michigan isn't the only place in the running for this build, as other states already have tax incentives in place to make it happen.
Lawmakers in West Michigan said the proposed bills for the tax breaks should start moving through Lansing by the end of the year.