GSO/Guilford Pols

August 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            

« The late, great Franklin McCain | Main | Roll your own »

Jan 13, 2014

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Ed Cone

Some conversation on this post happening here.

David Hoggard

I agree that the first question is: "How do data centers fit into our economic development master plan?"

And one back to you, or, rather... to anyone who may know: What is our economic development master plan, and where can it be viewed?

(Welcome back... I'm jealous, sort of)

Billy Jones

An "economic development master plan?"

I'd love to know if such a thing exists.

Billy Jones

Another question I'd love to see answered is: How many existing residents will these data centers employ vs. how many will be hired from somewhere else?

Do we currently have the qualified workforce needed to do these kinds of jobs without taking them away from other nearby employers? If no then what are we really gaining? Is the added tax base really worth the environmental cost?

Ed Cone

The number of jobs at these data centers is small enough that I don't think local vs. imported workers really factors into the decision. That said, my guess is that much of the limited hiring can be done locally, and, also, that bringing in skilled workers is not a bad thing for the local economy, either.

The case for building them really comes down to tax revenue and economic development, the latter being the focus of my inquiry.

Other big NC data centers are built in more remote places than GSO/eastern Guilford. I'm wondering if we can leverage our assets to get more value out of these facilities, and if so, what's the plan for doing it?

Billy Jones

Ed: "The case for building them really comes down to tax revenue and economic development, the latter being the focus of my inquiry."

Again, if putting locals to work isn't the focus of "economic development" then does tax revenue justify the environmental losses? Couldn't the land be put to better uses like serious aquaponics such as I've previously suggested (just 1 idea, I'm open to more) for the 500 unused acres at the White Street Landfill? Our local economic development "gurus" seem to be stuck in a 19th century mindset.

A safe and reliable source for food is not something local leaders should take lightly and not the kind of thing that can be done overnight.

Ed also wrote: "Other big NC data centers are built in more remote places than GSO/eastern Guilford. I'm wondering if we can leverage our assets to get more value out of these facilities, and if so, what's the plan for doing it?"

I think we're at least partially agreeing.

Andrew Brod

I'm not sure what economic development is for if it's not for jobs. But I interpret Ed's comment that the case for data centers is economic development to mean that it'll create jobs down the road. Which is far from certain, but at least it's not crazy.

Andrew Brod

The question is whether data centers ever generate jobs down the road. I have a feeling that the history of data centers is too brief to yield a useful empirical literature, but perhaps I'll look around on the interwebs.

One thing we can pretty sure of is that companies don't care if their data centers spawn nearby tech jobs. Otherwise, they'd never put them in rural locales like Caldwell County. That doesn't prove that they DON'T spawn such jobs, but it's a useful perspective.

Ed Cone

Well, economic development might pay off in ways other than jobs, e.g., tax revenue. So data centers that didn't squeeze out better bets or hog scarce resources might be a good deal, even if they don't bring a lot of jobs.

But, yes, I am asking the question you are, AB -- is there a way that they can lead to other investments that bring much-needed jobs? Does a place like GSO have the opportunity to leverage these investments into other investments? If so, what's the plan? If not, um, what's the plan?

Billy Jones

Would it be off topic to offer to your readers the Project Haystack Economic Development Study as pried from the clutches of the staff of the City of Greensboro after much screaming and fighting to get them to release what was already public information?

The comments to this entry are closed.