North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2015

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PROVIDED BY T5 DATA CENTERS 28 N O RT H C A R O L I N A E CO N O M I C D E V E LO P M E N T G U I D E years, which has enabled the city to join other rural North Carolina communities attracting some of the biggest technol- ogy companies in the world. In Kings Mountain, as well as in nearby Catawba, Caldwell and Rutherford counties, companies such as Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc., Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook Inc. and Burbank, Calif.-based The Walt Disney Co. have built massive data centers — window- less, boxy buildings that house the hardware powering computer networks and highly paid employees. Servers store oceans of binary code that creates digitized data, documents, photographs, music and websites — all available through an Internet connection and the correct key strokes. They make cloud computing possible. It's no surprise, then, that each data center requires a huge investment. "Even a medium-size data center can cost over $100 million to build," says Aaron Wangenheim, chief marketing offi cer for T5 Data Centers LLC. Head- quartered in Atlanta and San Francisco, T5 builds data centers for companies at its seven data-center parks nationwide. "There's a lot of physical infrastructure behind it. We're in the business of that physical element." Data centers must operate continu- ously to ensure data is always available, so they're built in locations with the least possibility of an interruption. "You can't just build these anywhere," Wangenheim says. "You want to get to a place where if something bad were to happen, the impact would be minimal." The best sites have few severe weather events such as hurricanes and are far from busy railroads and fl ight paths. Vibrations from rolling trains and soaring jets upset networking equipment. "These guys want to be remote," says John Geib, Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp.'s director of economic development for North Carolina. "The farther we place them in the woods the better. A lot of investments are being made in rural areas because of their desire for a remote location." That's a big reason T5 came to Kings Mountain in 2010, buying a former 215,000-square-foot boat factory. It had been used by Sarasota, Fla.-based Chris-Craft Corp. until two years earlier, when the Great Recession hit. "When the economy took a down- turn, the boat business went south," says David Dear, former Cleveland County manager. "People weren't going to buy a new boat." At the Kings Mountain factory, Chris-Craft built 33- to 40-foot yachts, which were tested in Moss Lake. But Moss' waters are important to T5, too. It has turned the former boat factory and about 20 surrounding acres T5@KingsMountain uses water from M dwar eated b k.

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