Economic Development, Real Estate, and Technology

Company plans $5B data center campus at Steelcase Pyramid

November 16, 2015
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Switch Steelcase Pyramid data center campus rendering
A partial rendering of the $5 billion, 2-million-square-foot data center campus planned by Switch for the former Steelcase Pyramid property. Courtesy Switch

The Grand Rapids market will be home to the “largest data center campus in the eastern U.S.” and "thousands" of new jobs — pending the passage of three bills in the Michigan Legislature.

Midwest switch

Switch, a Nevada-based technology company, announced this afternoon that it plans to locate a new $5-billion SUPERNAP data center campus in Caledonia, centered around the former Steelcase Pyramid building, at 6100 E. Paris Ave. SE.

The entire campus would span 2 million square feet and provide "transformational infrastructure."

The total capital investment reflects the costs for both the data centers and the computer servers that would be placed inside the buildings over a multi-year period.

SUPERNAP Michigan would serve the company’s current clients with geographic redundancy and new clients with national connectivity.

Switch’s client base is made up of more than 1,000 clients: eBay, Intel, Shutterfly, Machine Zone (“Game of War”), Amgen, Dreamworks, HP, Intuit, Hitachi, JP Morgan Chase, Sony, Boeing, Cisco, EMC, Google, Amazon, Time Warner, Eli Lilly, Activision (“Call of Duty”) and Fox Broadcasting, among others.

Switch said SUPERNAP Michigan would be a 2-millisecond connection from Chicago and a 14-millisecond connection from New York.

Switch’s SUPERNAP Prime campuses, which would include Michigan, have low millisecond access to the largest population hubs in the U.S., without being “burdened with the high power prices, taxes and earthquake/hurricane risks associated with those cities.”

Switch said the campus would offer the only Uptime Institute-rated Tier IV Gold carrier-neutral colocation data center location outside of the SUPERNAP facilities in the western U.S.

Jobs

The campus would create thousands of “well-paid construction jobs” over the estimated 10-year build out of the entire project.

Similar to its construction projects in Nevada, a vast majority of Switch’s contractors would be hired from the local workforce.

In addition, at full build out, Switch and its clients are projected to employ 1,000 people to work at the data center campus, with many of them being veterans.

With a current workforce comprised of 70 percent veterans, Switch said it would continue its “commitment to hire the men and women who have served.”

“The unparalleled technology and data infrastructure investments planned by Switch will unleash countless new possibilities for growth in our state,” said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO, The Right Place, a regional economic development nonprofit.

“The future of business will be driven by data, and Michigan will be well-positioned as a hub of data innovation.”

Legislation

Switch hopes to finalize its plans following the passage of the legislation, which would create an “equal playing field between Michigan and its neighboring states,” according to Adam Kramer, EVP of strategy, Switch. 

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