Durham County to consider $800K incentive for data center

CorrespondentAugust 27, 2012 

— Durham County commissioners will hold a public hearing Monday night on an $800,000 economic incentive package intended to lure a wholesale data center to the area.

Commissioners will likely vote on the incentive package for Sentinel Data Centers after the hearing, County Manager Mike Ruffin said. The money would be given to the company over six years.

The hearing will be part of the Board of Commissioners’ regular 7 p.m. meeting held on the second floor of the county’s Administrative Building, 200 E. Main St.

Sentinel is a leading owner, developer and operator of multi-tenant data centers for large-footprint users, according to the company’s website.

Sentinel plans to build a 300,000 square foot data center over three years, according to a county document. A company representative declined to say where in Durham Sentinel wants to build.

The company will spend approximately $174 million on building costs, machinery and equipment through 2015, the county document states. The project will bring approximately 19 new full-time jobs, its says.

The document says Sentinel officials are considering other locations and “have stated that incentives are a key consideration in its final decision on locating its new operations in Durham.”

If commissioners approve the incentive, “I believe we will be the finalist,” Ruffin said. The project’s property tax revenues will more than cover the county’s investment, he said.

The project would not bring a lot of jobs, but it would add to the county’s tax base and help sustain various government services, Ruffin said.

Founded in 2001, Sentinel Data Centers is based in New York City. The company initially built three data center facilities in the Northeast and sold them in 2010. Last year, Sentinel opened a data warehouse in Somerset, N.J.

Nelson Frye, Sentinel’s director of business development, said data warehouses are essentially real estate “built to serve infrastructure racks as opposed to people.” The data warehouse model allows businesses to outsource the challenge of storing data and related equipment to a turn-key facility with a suitable environment and power source, Frye said.

Bridges: 919-564-9330

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