Massive Data Center Development Targeting Western Massachusetts Could Be Nation's Biggest
Western Massachusetts may become the home to the Northeast’s largest-ever data center development.
“We’ve been looking for that ‘unicorn.’ This is the greatest project to fit into the space that we have. No warehouses, no trucks, no discharges into air, water, land; just electricity and data,” Westfield Mayor Donald F. Humason Jr said.
“The only traffic moving here is the traffic that’s moving through data lines.”
Data center developments are typically measured not in square footage, but in the amount of power they use — according to documents filed with federal energy regulators last month, power utility NSTAR has applied to connect 150 megawatts to the site. That capacity would make the project one of the largest data center facilities in the country and by far the largest in New England.
Whether or not the project comes to fruition may hinge on Westfields City Council approving a tax incentive plan supported by the mayor’s administration, The Westfield News reports. The developers are seeking a special tax assessment that would allow them to enter into a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, agreement with the city — a customized property tax arrangement typically associated with large nonprofit institutions like universities and hospitals. City officials say the project would still bring in $1.2M to city coffers within three years.
“The potential revenue for the city going forward is significant,” said Peter J. Miller, Westfield’s community development director, according to The Westfield News. “Within the first three years, they would be the largest taxpayer in the city, never mind future phases.”
As is typical for a large-scale data center development, the end user of the proposed campus is being kept under wraps. While the project’s developer is listed as Servistar Realty, its massive size suggests the facility will house servers for one of the big five so-called hyperscalers — Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft or Apple.