Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: January 9, 2019
Office of the Governor
Contact: Alena Yarmosky
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Contact: Suzanne Clark
Microsoft Media Relations
Contact: WE Communications
Governor Northam Announces Microsoft Corporation’s Sixth Expansion in Mecklenburg County
~ Microsoft investment and expansion will create more than 100 new jobs ~
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Microsoft Corporation, one of the largest and most influential companies in the world, will inject significant capital investment to expand its enterprise data center in Mecklenburg County. The project is Microsoft’s sixth expansion at the facility since 2010 and will allow the company to further enhance its ability to serve customers in the U.S. and across the globe. Virginia successfully competed against multiple states for this significant investment, which will create more than 100 new jobs.
“When Microsoft established its new enterprise data center in 2010, it represented the largest economic investment in southern Virginia history, and we have been thrilled to see the company continue expanding in the Commonwealth ever since,” said Governor Northam. “Microsoft’s sustained investment in Virginia has created hundreds of new jobs for our citizens and advanced our position as a leader in information technology. We thank Microsoft for its tremendous contribution to the economies of Mecklenburg County and to the Commonwealth as a whole.”
Microsoft is a publicly held corporation, established in 1975, and headquartered in Redmond, Washington, with revenues surpassing $100 billion and more than 134,000 employees worldwide. Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft has created nearly 1,800 jobs in Virginia, with approximately 300 jobs at Microsoft locations in Mecklenburg County.
“Microsoft and the Commonwealth boast a rich history of successful corporate partnership, and we are thrilled that the company’s sixth expansion in Mecklenburg County will bring more than 100 new jobs to Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Microsoft’s state-of-the-art data center is thriving due to the region’s premier assets and infrastructure, which include a density of fiber and competitively priced power. Thanks to industry leaders like Microsoft, Virginia remains the largest data center market in the U.S., and we look forward to the company’s continued growth in Mecklenburg County.”
“As demand for cloud and online services continues to grow, Microsoft is investing in Virginia as a strategic location to help us deliver for our customers,” said Noelle Walsh, corporate vice president, Cloud Operations + Innovation, Microsoft Corp. “Mecklenburg County has been a good home for Microsoft, and we’re committed to supporting the community through local partnerships to help deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits such as expanding access to high-speed broadband services and supporting skills training for positions in the information technology industry. We’ve also invested to increase the amount of renewable energy available and help others access more renewable energy. In May 2018, Microsoft announced the purchase of 315-megawatts of energy from two new solar projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which represented the single largest corporate purchase of solar energy in the United States.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Mecklenburg County and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $1.5 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Mecklenburg County with the project. The company is also eligible for Data Center Sales and Use tax exemptions on qualifying computer equipment and enabling software.
“Mecklenburg County is pleased that Microsoft is continuing to grow their operation in our County with their sixth expansion announcement since 2010,” said Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors Glenn Barbour. “The continued expansion of the Boydton Data Center showcases our county and its assets to the world. We look forward to working with Microsoft to continue their growth of their cloud services and the opportunities it provides for our citizens and our economy.”
“Microsoft’s economic impact on Southern Virginia is invaluable, and we thank the company for its sixth major investment in Mecklenburg County since 2010,” said Senator Frank Ruff, Chairman of the MEI Commission. “State and local partners have worked tirelessly to ensure the company’s continued growth in the region, and I am pleased that the MEI Commission could play a role in securing this important expansion for the Commonwealth.”
“An additional expansion of Microsoft’s Mecklenburg County site is tremendous for the region, and is further evidence that rural Virginia can play an important role in the growth of the high-tech industry in the Commonwealth,” said Delegate Nick Rush, Vice Chair of the MEI Commission. “I am proud of VEDP, MEI, and the partners involved for continued collaboration and a strong corporate partnership with the company.”
“The announcement of Microsoft once again expanding in Mecklenburg County is welcome news not only to me but to the people I serve in the 61st district,” said Delegate Thomas Wright. “Microsoft clearly appreciates that Mecklenburg offers a thriving workforce, a business-friendly environment, and the infrastructure to support a growing operation.”
Microsoft Is Expanding Its Virginia Data Center Footprint, But Not in Ashburn
Microsoft is once again expanding its already enormous data center campus in Boydton, a town in southern Virginia.
The office of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the company’s plans Thursday, saying it will “inject significant capital investment” in what will be its sixth expansion at the site, which has been operational since 2010 .
Cloud giants including Microsoft have been spending billions of dollars each quarter in recent years on expanding data center infrastructure for their platforms. In Virginia, most of this construction activity has taken place in and around Ashburn – some 230 miles north of Boydton.
Northern Virginia is the world’s largest and fastest-growing data center market, and Microsoft has substantial presence there. But big cloud providers usually have multiple data center locations serving every major geographic area, spread apart to provide backup for each other. Microsoft’s Azure cloud has three availability regions in Virginia, two for the private sector and one that exclusively serves government clients.
Azure US East 2 availability region is hosted on the Microsoft data center campus in Boydton, according to datacenterHawk .
In statements, Northam and other state, local, and federal officials touted economic development benefits Microsoft’s presence has brought to the area. The company created 300 jobs in Mecklenburg County (where Boydton is located), according to the governor’s office. The planned expansion is expected to create 100 more.
As with its past construction projects at the site, Microsoft is eligible for tax breaks for the latest expansion. It will be able to apply the state’s Data Center Sales and Use tax exemptions to computing equipment and software it buys to fill the new space with.
Even though Microsoft’s data center campus has been in Boydton since 2010, according to Northam’s office, Virginia competed for the expansion project with multiple states, which appears to be an explanation for the tax breaks.
Virginia’s sales and use tax exemptions for data centers accounted for about $80 million in uncollected state revenue in fiscal 2018, according to the Associated Press .
Microsoft’s initial investment to build the data center campus in 2010 was nearly $500 million. Including the previous expansion, a $250 million project announced in 2016, the company has invested about $2 billion in building out the campus over the years, Richmond Times-Dispatch estimated.