Sarpy County is prepared to pave a road in hopes of luring a $200 million data center to Papillion.
Tuesday, the Sarpy County Board accepted the low bid of nearly $2.9 million from Vrana and Son Construction of Omaha to pave portions of 114th Street and Cornhusker Road near the site of a proposed 100,000-square-foot data center known as “Project Photon.”
The board will consider the formal contract with Vrana at next week's meeting.
The identity of the company behind Project Photon has not been disclosed.
Sarpy County Engineer Denny Wilson said the county plans to pay the costs to pave a one-mile stretch of 114th Street and a quarter-mile section of Cornhusker Road. Wilson said the data center developers would pay to pave another half mile of Cornhusker Road.
“With a paved road, that will enhance our chances for further development,” Wilson said. “From a traffic standpoint, this desperately helps us find alternate routes by helping alleviate congestion on our highways.”
County Board member Jim Warren said improving roads is one of the top issues facing the county.
He said the street project should help bring more businesses and jobs, which will grow Sarpy County's tax base.
“The growth in Sarpy County has way outpaced our infrastructure,” Warren said. “I think Sarpy County has fallen behind in hard-surfaced roads for infrastructure and development.”
Board member Tom Richards said there is “at least a 95 percent” chance that the data center will materialize.
In June, the data center received the Papillion City Council's approval for its land plat outlining the site's development.
The parcel is currently owned by Clatterbuck Properties of Bellevue, but a sale has not been finalized.
Officials anticipate that the business will be announced yet this year.
“This project has a potential to bring a number of jobs, especially in the second wave,” Richards said. “I am supportive of it. That whole area is going to develop sooner than later.”
County Administrator Mark Wayne has told the County Board that Project Photon involves a $225 million building and 25 initial jobs, but the company has long-range plans to build a headquarters on the 152-acre site, which could bring thousands of additional jobs.
The project would qualify for new tax incentives that the Legislature passed this year to help lure data centers to the state.
Project Photon would be slightly larger than the 80,000-square-foot data center at Scott Technology Center but smaller than the 180,000-square-foot data center that Yahoo opened in La Vista in 2010.
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