Amazon to Pour Another $7.8B Into Ohio

The data center expansion is scheduled to wrap up by 2029.

Data servers

Photo by via Wikimedia

Amazon Web Services will invest $7.8 billion in the construction of data centers in Central Ohio. The expansion will take place over a period of six years, anticipating completion in 2029.

The data centers will serve as computer servers, networking equipment, data storage drives and cloud computing infrastructure. Among the local economic development teams collaborating with AWS for the development are JobsOhio and One Columbus.

JobsOhio’s CEO & President JP Nauseef said that the project is slated to create 230 direct jobs, in addition to 1,000 secondary ones. This expenditure represents the second-largest private investment in the state’s history, after Intel’s $20 billion semiconductor manufacturing plants in Licking County.

So, where is Amazon expanding its data center business in Ohio?

AWS stated that the exact location of its new data centers has not been determined yet. However, according to reporting by the Columbus Business Journal, Amazon purchased 400 acres in New Albany around January, for roughly $117 million. The site is located along Beech Road, where AWS currently operates another data center.

According to the same source, an entity associated with New Albany Co. filed applications for roughly 5 million square feet of new development in the area, along with several million square feet of data center space.

This land is part of a 9,000-acre planned business park named New Albany International Business Park—created by New Albany Co.—aimed to spur tech development in the region, with Intel’s semiconductor plants spearheading this initiative. Companies committed to the park with either ongoing or existing projects include Google, Meta Platforms, Amgen, Stack Infrastructure, American Electric Power, along many others.

Ohio’s growing tech presence

AWS entered Ohio in 2015, when it broke ground on its first data center in New Albany. Since then, the company’s investment in the state surpassed $6 billion, according to prepared remarks by Director of Economic Development Roger Whener. This new expansion would effectively more than double that amount, serving to solidify the long-term public-private collaboration, as well as add workforce development and educational programs, Whener added.

Amazon has been rapidly growing its AWS operations—in January it announced the commitment of $35 billion in Virginia, doubling its presence in the state. In fact, AWS remains one of Amazon’s most successful lines of business: In 2022, the division generated $80 billion in revenue, rising its share of total net sales to 16 percent. 

Data centers have represented a top-performing real estate sector over the past year, according to a CBRE report, and this trend is expected to maintain un upward trajectory in 2023. As of the first quarter, another CBRE report found that transaction volume in the sector dropped 26 percent year-over-year, largely due to rising interest rates and an overall slowdown of the economy. Regardless, fundamentals remain strong, and the forecast remains positive for the sector.

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