Microsoft Holds Open House For Malaga Data Center Site
When Microsoft begins operations of its new data center in Malaga, the tech company will become Chelan County's largest taxpayer.
That announcement was made last night at Mission View Elementary where members of the community along with city and county leaders gathered for Microsoft's open house for a preview of what the data center project will entail.
"So today, Stemilt is the largest taxpayer and their assessed value, all of their orchards and packing plants, at $155-million," Jim Kuntz, CEO of the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority (CDRPA) said. "Microsoft, just the first building alone in Chelan County, will likely go on the assessor's rolls at $500-million."
Groundbreaking on the first of three buildings in the 5300 block of Malaga-Alcoa Highway is expected to get underway this fall if all goes well with the permitting process.
The Chelan County Public Utilities District (PUD) will deliver electricity to power the site, upgrade nearby transmission lines and build the site's substation. The amount of power needed to energize the site is unknown, but Microsoft says it will fund all aspects. Otherwise, no PUD customers will pay for the development.
As far as how the site will get its water, the CDRPA will develop water line extensions, two new wells and a new reservoir. The Malaga Water District will own and operate the water infrastructure when its complete. Microsoft says no customer dollars from the CDRPA or the Malaga Water District will be needed.
Microsoft started to make its data center mark in North Central Washington in 2014 with the building of a data center in Quincy, creating 9-million construction hours and 450 construction jobs per year. 430 full-time employees and contractors were brought on at the operations level.
Microsoft Program Manager Paul Englis leads the global community engagement team. He says the Malaga site will operate much like the Quincy site, but it will start smaller.
"Each of the buildings are about 250,000 square feet. There are three of them planned for the site. The site we purchased is about 105 acres. So it'll have the three buildings. There will be a small substation and some water tanks on site." Englis said. "So the three sites, the one in Quincy, the one in East Wenatchee, and the one in Malaga, are all going to kind of work in a triad that will provide resiliency and failover."
Once construction begins this fall, Microsoft says it will take about two and a half years to complete the first building and support facilities. Time of construction for the second and third phases will depend on factors such as customer demand.
Six datacenter buildings between Douglas and Chelan Counties would amount to $3-billion dollars in assessed value.
"Lots more property taxes, sales tax generated, but what's the good news for the greater Wenatchee Valley. They're moderate generators of jobs," Kuntz said. "For every building they build, it's about 75 new jobs, salaries of 125,000 to 250,000 (dollars) and they're going to build one building every 18 months. So it's a perfect employer to be able to come into the greater Wenatchee Valley because we can absorb them in a more responsible manner than one big large employer showing up and needing 5000 residents to work."
Microsoft Open House For Malaga Data Center Site