Google announces Nebraska growth plan that includes new northwest Omaha data center

The tech titan also plans to add to its Papillion complex and donate to new Omaha library

By: - April 21, 2022 3:30 pm

Dignitaries gather to announce that a new Google data center will be built in Omaha. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

Editor’s note: This report updates an earlier version with reporting from Thursday’s Google event. 

When the newly announced northwest Omaha Google data center is up and running, the metro area will have the largest Google operational presence in the country, representatives of the tech titan said Thursday.

The multi-building campus — set to rise on a 261-acre site northwest of State Street and Blair High Road — is part of a $750 million investment that California-based Google plans to make this year in Nebraska.

Included in the financial mix is an expansion on the existing Papillion data center campus, which was built in 2019 on a 275-acre site at 14706 Schram Road in Sarpy County for a reported $600 million. About 120 people currently are employed there.

Site of future northwest Omaha Google data center, near State Street and Blair High Road (Courtesy of Google)

The third leg of the metro-area Google cluster is the data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Officials said they’ll be investing in that campus this year as well.

‘Shining examples’

“We’re thrilled to literally build on what we started here,” said Google Cloud’s Stacy Trackey Meagher.

She called the three Google properties “shining examples of the kinds of infrastructure and opportunities” that the global company strives to create. Google specializes in internet services and products.

“These projects serve this nation,” said Trackey Meagher, “and are proving again that Nebraska is a heartbeat for business transformation.” 

We’re thrilled to literally build on what we started here

– Stacy Trackey Meagher, Google Cloud

More than 100 guests attended the invitation-only event at the Papillion Google site, including Gov. Pete Ricketts, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Papillion Mayor David Black, some Nebraska lawmakers and metro-area City Council members.

Fortune 500 growth

Google officials are holding similar announcements in other areas of the country as they reveal a collective $9.5 billion investment this year in nationwide offices, data centers and some 12,000 new full-time jobs. 

“We are thrilled to see a Fortune 500 company grow and invest in Omaha,” Stothert said.

Nebraska Google button bling for guests. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

She announced Thursday that Google plans also to contribute $100,000 toward Omaha’s future main library project, which is expected to rise at 72nd and Dodge Streets.

The Google team declined to provide a breakdown of the $750 million investment and offered scant details about such things as size of the new construction projects. They did say that, together, the Omaha-CB metro centers will represent Google’s biggest U.S. operational base.

But government planning documents indicate the new northwest Omaha facility will span 1.4 million gross square feet and rise no higher than four stories. The campus is to include various equipment yards, parking areas and an Omaha Public Power District switchyard.

Jobs multiply

Paperwork submitted last summer by an applicant called Westwood Solutions LLC said the data center will operate around the clock — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The size of the complex requires 2,865 parking stalls, but city planners said that was excessive for the planned use and said 642 stalls would suffice with a parking waiver.

Ricketts noted that the latest Google investment, coupled with the initial phase of the Papillion center, will put the company’s investment into operations in the Husker state at more than $1.3 billion.

On top of that, Google said in a new report that since 2009 it has awarded more than $2 million in grants to Nebraska nonprofits and schools and nearly $2.4 million in free search advertising to area organizations.

“Thank you to Google for choosing to grow in Nebraska,” Ricketts said.

Google’s Papillion data center site. Expansion will be to the west. (Courtesy of Google)

He said he expects the number of Google jobs in Nebraska to at least double with the new investment. Those local data center positions include supplier roles, computer technicians, engineers, maintenance and security workers.

‘Community partner’

Mayor Black called Papillion’s relationship with Google positive. “They have been an incredible community partner supporting our schools, working with community leaders and providing opportunities to grow a technology knowledge base.”

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said in a statement that the Nebraska projects provide community anchors and help the company invest in those local communities. 

“As we embrace more flexibility in how we work, we believe it’s more important than ever to invest in our campuses and that doing so will make for better products, a greater quality of life for our employees and stronger communities,” Pichai said.

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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics. She has won awards from organizations including Great Plains Journalism, the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) and the Associated Press. Cindy has been recognized by various nonprofits for community contributions and diversity efforts. She chairs the board that oversees the local university’s student newspaper.

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