Microsoft on the hunt, seeks more land for data center expansion

According to several media reports, Microsoft is looking to purchase more land in Central Ohio to build more data centers.

Microsoft is reportedly looking to buy land in The Village of Hebron and Union Township, located east of Columbus, west of S.R. 79.

If Microsoft purchases the land, the tech giant will own nearly 1,000 acres in Licking County. Building additional data centers would likely create hundreds of additional jobs for members of the area’s building trades unions, including members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 24. 

Microsoft is making moves to purchase 238 acres in Union Township, located at 323 N. High Street, according to a Newark Advocate report. However, the current landowner reportedly is only willing to sell 133 acres, with plans to use the rest for farming. 

Located at 129 High Street in Hebron, the second parcel is 99 acres, according to the Advocate. Microsoft is also interested in an additional 23-acre plot in Hebron owned by the same family.

DatacenterDynamics reported that Jim Layton, Hebron’s outgoing Mayor, confirmed Microsoft intends to develop six data center buildings on the parcels, each with between 50 and 75 employees, with construction spread out over 10 years. 

Construction could begin as early as late this year or early next year if the sales are completed in 2024.

Dorsey Hager, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer, cautioned that until Microsoft purchases the land, it is too early to know how many data centers will be constructed. 

Hager acknowledged that based on the media reports, the number of construction jobs created could be similar to the totals currently needed to build a Microsoft data center campus in New Albany. 

The tasks completed by members of Local 24 at data centers might involve outside work, like siding, as well as critical HVAC work on the interior of the facilities, according to Business Manager Rodney French.

Hebron Economic and Community Development Director Brittany Misner told the Advocate that the Township has entered into a pre-annexation agreement with Microsoft. She acknowledged there are additional steps in the development process before the deal is finalized.

This news comes six months after Microsoft acquired 200 acres in New Albany. In November 2023, the tech giant acquired another 580 acres in Licking County.

On June 30, reported that Microsoft could build up to 18 buildings and spend nearly $10 billion in the Central Ohio area. 

Although it’s not yet known when work might start, members of Sheet Metal Workers 24 and other Local Unions around Central Ohio will be in high demand over the next several years on this project. 

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