"This is a big win for Orangetown," Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart said. "Our motto is 'Rich in History.' Today, I think we are making history.
"This is a really important project and it makes sense for our town. It's good for our tax base. It's good for our neighbors. It works within our land use and zoning. It's good for the environment and it's good for the future."
The ceremony included the raising into place of a 1,980-pound beam, signed by people involved with the project, was raised into place by a large crane with an American flag hanging from the bottom and an evergreen tree resting on top. The evergreen tree is a tradition at topping off ceremonies, one that represents a safe build and good luck for the building's occupants.
Bloomberg is expected to invest over $800 million in the 131,806-foot data center at 155 Corporate Drive in Orangeburg, which is expected to open in the middle of 2014. It is expected to employ 80 full-time people and will provide approximately 250 construction jobs.
Russo Development President and C.O.O. Ed Russo said Orange & Rockland's construction of a substation on Corporate Drive was a key part of that investment.
"Orange & Rockland made very significant in vestment in the infrastructure in Orangetown about four years ago when they built the Corporate Drive substation," Russo said. "I can tell you without that substation, this project would not be getting built. We would not have purchased this property five years ago if that substation was not something that was planned."
The available power was just one factor that influenced Bloomberg to choose Orangeburg for its U.S. Data Center.
"Naturally, in thinking of where to place a U.S. Data Center, we went through a rigorous and comprehensive selection process," said Alberto Goldberger, CFO for Research & Development for Bloomberg. "It met all our critical business requirements, whether it be availability of adequate power and telecom infrastructure or the proximity to New York City. What really sealed the deal for us was the opportunity to work with great partners."
Goldberger also credited the work of Stewart and other Orangetown employees.
"It's probably not a stretch to say this project would not have happened without the energy and involvement of Town Supervisor Andy Stewart. Andy has been a great ambassador for this community. He and his team have worked lokng and hard to bring this project to life."County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef highlighted many reasons why Bloomberg chose the site, including the work of the Rockland County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), which helped put together financial incentives to attract the project.
"Let me tell you what convinced them," Vanderhoef said. "The IDA. Thank you very much. Orange & Rockland Utility. Thank you very much. The Pearl River School District. Orangetown. Rockland County. The taxing jurisdictions. In particular, the RIDC and IDA are the ones who helped facilitate this on behalf of the county."
"The Rockland IDA, with Rockland County, provided a very comprehensive financial incentive program for this project," Russo said. "I can say for projects like this that are very coveted and competitive among states, Bloomberg could have gone a lot of places. They didn't have to come here.
The Rockland IDA provided an incentive package that was really critical."
The Pearl River School District approved the 12-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement with Russo Development at a board of education meeting May 21. The district is anticipating tax revenue of approximately $250,000 from the property the first year of the deal, rising to over $581,000 annually by 2025.
The Orangetown Council passed a resolution approving the PILOT on its end May 14. Bloomberg L.P. announced it had signed a lease agreement with Russo Development and Sentinel Data Centers May 23.
The Orangetown Council approved an easement that was a key part of the process for the development in April.
Stewart said the project is not only important for the value it brings to the town on its own, but as an example of the type of development Orangetown is working to attract.
"To me, this data center is like an anchor store," Stewart said. "It’s like a flag planted that is high enough and waving around so that all that is wonderful about Orangetown in terms of quality of life, in terms of infrastructure, in terms of the potential of the commercial real estate here, will be more visible and more able to attract the right kind of development. That’s exciting. It’s the kind of thing we’re looking to do."
Check back with Patch for more from the event.