Why You'd Never Know Atlanta Is a Top State for Data Centers
CBRE, a real estate giant recently analyzed the top 23 markets for data hubs, and found Atlanta is among the most cost-effective. According to CBRE, Georgia has a combination of lower cost utilities, very competitive rental prices, and tax exemption components.
Additionally, the metro area's solid IT infrastructure and decent weather could position Georgia as the top region to store and access information.
So where are all these massive data storage centers?
The heaviest concentration is in Atlanta's suburbs and there's a good chance you'll not see a data center concentration near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. When determining a location to play a data center, the industry tend to avoid any location that falls within the flight path of an airport.
Companies big and small lease data center space here in Georgia, from telecommunications to finance to energy to health.
While Atlanta might be among the cheapest for renting data center space, it's far from cheap. CBRE rates Atlanta as well above the highest commercial office rents in cities like San Francisco and New York.
Georgia Data Center Legislation:
Georgia’s data center incentive program was passed in 2005. The program provided a 100 percent exemption of sales taxes on computer equipment as long as a $15 million investment was made each year. During 2012, the exemption was expanded to cover sales taxes on construction materials.
What's next and how are other states legislation more competitive?
In states such as Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, and others have competitive incentives that attract data centers. They offer tax exemptions not only for computer equipment, but for mechanical/electrical equipment, property, cooling systems, etc.
In order for Georgia to not fall short in this growing industry is to look at provisions to our current incentives/tax exemptions law. After speaking with industry leaders, simply adding mechanical and electrical equipment tax exemptions to the current law would make a huge difference when companies are determining where to locate new or move existing data center facilities.
TAG is working with data center industry leaders and an economist to determine the economic impact of adding these tax exemptions to the current law during the 2015 legislative session.