Project Oasis secret revealed: Travelers insurance to build $200M Sarpy data center

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Posted: Friday, September 13, 2013 12:00 am

The company planning to build a $200 million data center near Springfield is Travelers Cos., a global insurance group.

“Travelers is excited about the opportunity to build a new data center in Greater Omaha, and we look forward to next week's Sarpy County Board meeting,” company spokeswoman Delker Herbert Vardilos said in a statement to The World-Herald.

Travelers, the second-largest commercial insurer in the U.S., is the only property insurer listed on the Dow Jones industrial average. It has at least one other data center, in Georgia, according to regulatory filings.

“Travelers is committed to using technology to drive new innovations that support the growing business needs of our customers, agents and employees,” Vardilos' statement said.

Vardilos declined to comment further until the Sarpy County Board votes Tuesday on a development agreement with the company. County officials also declined to comment.

The data center, referred to in planning documents as Project Oasis, will sit on the southwestern corner of 144th Street and Schram Road, a 140-acre parcel.

The Sarpy County Economic Development Corp., which brokered the deal, has an option on the land. The property already has been rezoned to light industrial, and the Omaha Public Power District plans to build a substation to power the data center. Planning officials see the data center as a potential anchor for an industrial corridor along Schram Road.

Economic development groups have stepped up efforts in recent years to lure data centers, and Travelers will join a growing list of companies with data centers in the metro area, including Fidelity Investments, PayPal and Yahoo.

The company could be eligible for a round of new state tax incentives for companies that invest at least $200million in a data center and employ at least 30 people.

Sarpy County's 2014 budget includes spending on roads and sewers for the site, as well as a pass-through account to hold a $750,000 state infrastructure grant.

The county's share of new infrastructure costs for the project — extending a mile and a half of sewer line and paving Schram Road from 144th to 150th Streets — would be about $1.4 million.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Delker Herbert Vardilos.

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