Huge Data Center Coming to Grand Rapids

Switch Data Center


This afternoon an AT&T technician came by our offices in Kentwood to add some phone lines.  I escorted him into our main data closet and after he was done, we talked for about 15 minutes.

He was pretty knowledgeable about this huge data center that will soon be constructed at the old Steelcase pyramid building in Gaines Township.

This thing is gonna be pretty incredible.  Switch, the Las Vegas company which will manage this facility, is going to invest some $5 billion dollars in the complex.  It will be the largest data center campus in the eastern U.S.  I had heard about this in the news, mostly concerning the tax incentives that were needed to lure this company, and now Governor Snyder and the Michigan Legislature have done it. 

Back in 1985 my dad who was a UAW forklift operator at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren got me a summer job working as a shipping and receiving clerk at one of their docks.  I remember getting FedEx envelopes, almost daily, from governors around the country trying to make their case to GM to have the Saturn assembly plant built in their state.  It was eventually built in Spring Hill, Tennessee.  (Some time later, I got a temp job at Saturn’s temporary headquarters in Troy working in the mail room.  I would deliver mail to Saturn executives including Bill Hoglund, a former Pontiac president and Saturn’s
first president)

I’m not sure if Michigan realizes yet how big this deal is.  Back in May of last year, General Motors announced they were investing $1 billion in the Warren Tech Center, and that was a big deal for Warren and the surrounding area, but Switch will invest up to $5 billion on this data center and it’s gonna be a magnet for businesses, high tech and otherwise.

Below are a couple of interesting articles on this.


“The Las Vegas company, which operates a huge cloud campus in Las Vegas, plans to invest as much as $5 billion in a data center complex at the former Steelcase Pyramid complex. Switch plans to build up to 2 million square feet of data center space at the campus, which will serve as its East Coast cloud hub.”     from Data Center Frontier


Massive Data Center Wants to Locate in Grand Rapids

“SUPERNAP Michigan will be the largest data center campus in the eastern U.S. and will serve the company’s current clients in geographic redundancy and new clients with national connectivity,” according to the announcement. Switch, it says, “was founded by Rob Roy in 2000 to be the platform for all of his sustainability-focused patents and differentiated technologies.”

“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-plus clients that make up the largest data center ecosystem in the world to Michigan,” Switch Executive Vice President of Strategy Adam Kramer said in a statement. “Before Switch can finalize its announcement, it will work with the Michigan Legislature to pass new data center legislation that creates an equal playing field between Michigan and its neighboring states.”

The company says its 1,000 clients include include eBay, Intel, Shutterfly, Machine Zone, Amgen, Dreamworks, HP, Intuit, Hitachi, JP Morgan Chase, Sony, Boeing, Cisco, EMC, Google, Amazon, Time Warner, Eli Lilly, Activision and Fox Broadcasting.


Switch CEO:  Michigan Data Center Build Is A Go

Those plans call for 2 million square feet of building space, including the Steelcase Pyramid and several additional buildings Switch plans to erect around it. The full build-out could take up to 10 years and include six buildings, the company’s spokesman Adam Kramer told us earlier.

Switch is likely to bring major technology companies as its tenants to the state. The company’s client list in Las Vegas includes eBay, Google, Amazon, Intel, HP, Intuit, and Boeing, among others, and data center providers’ decisions to expand are often driven by existing major customers. eBay, for example, will also be the anchor tenant in the new data center Switch is building in Reno, Nevada – a project the online auction company said this week it would invest $230 million in.

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