Water is coming to southeast West Des Moines.
Behind the announcement today that Microsoft Corp. will build a $1 billion data center in West Des Moines is the promise that water service will be extended to a nearly 3,000-acre development area near Iowa Highway 5 and east of Interstate 35 where progress ground to a virtual standstill during the recession.
“Water is the main thing for us,” said Richard Hurd, who owns about 90 acres adjoining Willow Creek Golf Course. The golf course’s owners have talked to Hurd about buying some of that land as they looks to replace the southern half of the course, where the data center will be located.
Water is not the only piece of the infrastructure network that will benefit. The city of West Des Moines, as the component of its local match of a $20 million sales tax rebate approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, also plans to build $18 million in power lines, streets, fiber-optic cables and sanitary sewer lines.
Property owners long ago paid hefty water assessment fees in the area, but could not tap into a water main that runs along Army Post Road. That will change with the Microsoft center.
In addition, the new streets and utilities could lead to the addition of residential rooftops along the corridor that most people believe are the essential precursor to commercial development in the area.
“We need rooftops,” West Des Moines Mayor Steven Gaer said recently when talking about the stalled progress along the Highway 5 corridor. Colby Interests already is adding many of those rooftops a little farther south of where the Microsoft data center will be located.
To help pay for the water extensions, street construction and other improvements, Microsoft has agreed to a minimum assessment for property taxes of $255 million. That will add about $8 million a year in property tax revenue, once the center is completed.
The IEDA board also provided incentives for three other Greater Des Moines businesses today.
IP Pathways in Urbandale will receive $240,000, split evenly between a forgivable loan and a no-interest loan, for its relocation to 3600 109th St., where it plans a $1.7 million project to renovate a vacant 5,000-square-foot data center and triple the size of its Iowa workforce by adding 53 jobs. The company is based in Urbandale and has offices in Omaha and Overland Park, Kan.
Delta Dental of Iowa received $251,250 in tax incentives for the $9.4 million expansion of its home office at 9000 Northpark Drive in Urbandale. Delta Dental intends to begin construction on a 29,600-square-foot addition this spring for completion in first half of 2015. The project will create 15 new jobs, with 12 of those at a qualifying wage of $24.32 per hour for the tax benefit.
Dickten Masch Plastics LLC, 3401 S.E. Convenience Blvd. in Ankeny, received $160,050 in tax incentives for a $5.3 million expansion of its manufacturing facility, including a 50,000-square-foot high-bay warehouse. The company manufactures custom engineered thermo-plastic and thermo-set molded components for the automotive, industrial and heavy truck industries. The company also performs value-added operations, including manufacture of metal stamped components and complex assembly and test processes. The company is based in Wisconsin, with additional operations in Indiana, Michigan and Mexico. The Ankeny project will result in 30 new jobs, with six of those at qualifying wage of $24.32 an hour for the tax benefit.