Google to Build $1 Billion Data Center in Kansas City

Google announced a $1 billion data center for the Kansas City region. Photo credit: Shutterstock (Gorodenkoff)

Posted March 20, 2024

Updated 10:52 a.m., March 20, 2024

Google said this morning that it would expand its presence in Kansas City’s expanding tech sector with a $1 billion data center at the Hunt Midwest Business Center, along with a skilled-trade career-development program in partnership with the North Kansas City School District’s alternative-education STEAM program.

“We have reached an important inflection point for tech innovation like AI, and data centers are the backbone of this progress,” said Monique Picou, Google’s global vice president of cloud supply chain and operations. “Our announcement today is a testament to the resources, talent and welcoming spirit of the Kansas City community. Together, Kansas City and Google will help power America’s digital future and we are excited to contribute to the bright future of the region.” 

Officials said Google was working with Evergy to power the site, and with Ranger Power and D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) to bring 400 megawatts of new carbon-free energy to the grid as part of the company’s ambitious goal to run on 24/7 carbon-free energy. The firm said its continued investment in technical infrastructure, including its data centers, plays an essential role in supporting the company’s AI innovations and growing Google Cloud business, which helps power popular digital services like Google Cloud, Workspace, Search and Maps.

“Google’s selection of the Kansas City region is another example of our state’s ability to attract and support world-class companies,” said Gov. Mike Parson. “Our skilled work force, superior infrastructure, and prime business climate continue to result in investments from leading employers. We welcome Google to Missouri and look forward to the positive impact it will provide for our growing high-tech sector.”

Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council, said the news confirmed the region’s expanding role in international global tech. “Google’s major investment in KC will have multiple positive impacts long term,” Cowden said. “Not only will the tech company invest hundreds of millions of dollars benefitting our region’s economy in myriad ways, but Google’s global brand will now be directly linked to KC’s rising global brand.”

“Google’s decision to locate their new data center campus at Hunt Midwest Business Center is the culmination of the long-term vision and sustained teamwork of so many strategic partners at every level,” said Ora Reynolds, Hunt Midwest’s president and CEO. “Ten years ago, the Missouri legislature created economic development programs designed to give the state the tools to compete for valuable data center projects. With the leadership of our economic development organizations, local community stakeholders, and our utility provider’s commitment to investing in tomorrow, this collective group has now brought one of the largest and most transformational global technology companies to Kansas City. We have also built a long-term strategy to ensure we can provide the infrastructure, labor, and tax certainty necessary to grow our mission-critical footprint for years to come.”

Google’s Skilled Trades and Readiness (STAR) program will work with the Missouri Works Initiative and the Urban League to help increase the entry-level pipeline in the skilled trades with a focus on underrepresented communities. All STAR pre-employment programs are paid training programs and offer networking opportunities to help participants move directly into employment on local construction projects. 

“Technology employs one in 10 workers in Kansas City,” said Tracey Lewis, President and CEO, Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City. “We’re thrilled that Google’s presence will add to that significant and growing number of employment opportunities in our great community.”

By some projections, more than 65 percent of young people today will work in jobs that don’t yet exist, but many aren’t developing the problem-solving skills and digital competencies required to prepare for this future. To help bridge the gap, Google says it is helping support the technology needs of the North Kansas City School District with a more than $100,000 contribution to the STEAM center, which prepares high school students with the skills they need to tackle the future’s biggest challenges and opportunities across a variety of disciplines.