A proposal to build a large data center near Springfield is a step closer to reality.
The Sarpy County Board voted Tuesday to rezone a 140-acre parcel on the southwest corner of 144th Street and Schram Road as light industrial, laying the groundwork for a $200 million data center code-named Project Oasis.
The board also approved platting for an adjacent parcel for a new Omaha Public Power District substation that would power the data center.
The county is still firming up a development agreement with the company, whose name local officials have declined to reveal. It is described in planning documents as a Fortune 200 company.
Sarpy County Planning Director Bruce Fountain said rezoning the property now, before the county has signed a development agreement, is crucial to securing the project.
Sarpy is likely competing with Altoona, Iowa — the same Des Moines suburb that beat out Kearney, Neb., to land a $300 million data center for Facebook.
The Sarpy property is owned by Ronald and Susan Hollins. The Sarpy County Economic Development Corp., which is brokering the deal, has a two-year option on the land.
To help pay for new roads, water lines and sewers out to the project, the county board last month co-signed a $750,000 application for a state infrastructure grant overseen by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
Under the proposal, the county would pay $651,000 to extend a mile and a half of sewer line. The company would be responsible for normal sewer fees once the data center is built.
The county would also pay two-thirds of the cost to pave Schram Road from 144th to 150th Street — an expense that has been built into the county's coming roads budget, County Administrator Mark Wayne has said. Sewer extension costs would be paid from the county sewer fund.
Fred Uhe, accounting manager for the Sarpy County Clerk's Office, said the plan is to have a development agreement ready for the board to approve in early or mid-September.
Eventually, Fountain said, the data center could anchor a series of industrial projects along the Schram Road corridor.