?Amazon is poised to make the second-largest private sector investment in state history, announcing Monday that it will spend an estimated $7.8 billion over the next six years to build data center operations in central Ohio.

Only Intel’s $20-billion investment to build two semiconductor factories in New Albany is bigger.

“Amazon is already one of the largest private-sector employers in Ohio, and the company’s continued growth here further cements Ohio as the heart of our nation’s technology and innovation,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement. “As more of the world relies on cloud computing, this investment will build on Amazon’s current infrastructure in Ohio to help new and existing businesses grow, allow residents to securely connect to friends and family, and provide access to online educational resources and entertainment.”

Sites for the data centers not chosen

Amazon did not say how many data centers it will build, or where they will be built. A single data center can cost at least several hundred million dollars.

The state says Amazon is considering numerous locations. The Dispatch reported in January that Amazon bought nearly 400 acres along Beech Road NW near the Intel site in New Albany for $116.6 million. It has not released any plans for the site.

Amazon now operates seven data centers in central Ohio, three each in New Albany and Hilliard and one in Dublin, according to Baxtel.com, a site that tracks data center development.

What will the data centers do?

Amazon’s data centers will include servers, data storage drives, networking equipment, and other forms of technology infrastructure used to power cloud computing.

The data center investments are in addition to warehouses and delivery stations Amazon operates throughout Ohio. Amazon is also is among the biggest developers of solar farms in the state.

Despite their expense, data centers create few jobs. Amazon’s new projects are expected to create 230 direct jobs and 1,000 support jobs, according to JobsOhio, the state’s economic development arm.

Amazon’s data centers kicked off central Ohio tech rush

Amazon’s first data centers in Ohio date to 2015, when it announced plans in New Albany.

Amazon’s initial data center in central Ohio kicked off a tech rush that has been followed by Facebook and Google, and now Microsoft, which recently purchased land just south of Amazon’s land along Beech Road that could become a data center site.

More:Columbus among nation’s top 10 data center regions, report shows

Affordable land, low-cost electricity, available labor and a favorable climate with little risk of flooding, earthquakes or tornadoes has made central Ohio an attractive spot for data centers.

To date, Amazon Web Services investments and operations have generated over $2 billion in benefit for Ohio, and supported more than 3,000 local secondary jobs on an average annual basis, according to the state. In 2022, Amazon Web Services directly employed nearly 1,000 Ohioans.

“Today, we are proud to reinforce our long-term commitment to the State of Ohio with plans to expand and invest an estimated $7.8 billion by 2030,” Roger Wehner, director of economic development for Amazon Web Services, said in a statement. “Since 2015, AWS has invested more than $6 billion in Ohio while supporting thousands of local jobs.”

Ohio’s local and state economic development partners, including JobsOhio and One Columbus, are collaborating on the expansion.

mawilliams@dispatch.com

@BizMarkWilliams

Columbus Dispatch

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