New Britain’s Data Center Project Represents A Massive Change
December 5, 2019
by Chris Gilson, CCM Communications Writer
As time goes on, the tools we need change, which is why Stanley Black & Decker, whose tools were once the foundation of the American toolbox, had a building sit dormant for years. New Britain filled that space with a project that spans two generations of Mayor, two Governors and a company that wants to bring 21st century tools into town.
Energy Innovation Park, LLC (EIP) has found the right location to bring not just one but two new uses to the old manufacturing building in New Britain. Not only will there be a Fuel Cell project, but there will be a high performance and computing and data center. In materials released by EIP last year, they call this project the transformation to The New Hardware City.
According to the Hartford Business Journal, these centers are “seen as powerful economic drivers that allow cities, regions and states to generate jobs and tax revenue.” In fact, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart has predicted that EIP is going to become one of the city’s largest taxpayers overnight.
The project’s development will include multiple phases starting with a 20 megawatt clean energy generator, and finishing with the Data Center that will consist entirely of new construction. Adding to the benefit of the project, the fuel cells will be built by Doosan, whose headquarters are in South Windsor.
3,000 jobs back to top
The investment in New Britain and the state at large has been estimated at a billion dollars with 3,000 jobs. The tax revenue over the next 20 years equaled something like $200 million in state and $45 million, even despite $55 million in tax exemptions that helped bring the project here.
That meant it took “a lot of partners to come to the table,” people like the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), and not one but two governors.
“It’s very rare that you find a project that lasts the span of two governors, and has the support,” Mayor Stewart said, “it speaks volumes to how great a project this is.”
Mayor Stewart knows how great this project is: when Governor Lamont was first elected, EIP was her very first phone call.
Matt Pilon in the Hartford Business Journal said that the project was able to overcome hurdles to net the kind of company that will attract attention, quoting one individual saying that it could be “the basis of what could be a state marketing campaign.”
Names like Amazon and Microsoft were floated when imagining who could be pitched on the New Britain data center because of the location and the size of the project.
These two names represent the sea change that has happened in the last 30 years. No longer do humans run machines, machines run machines, and no longer do we store information on paper, much of the collective human imagination is stored in the cloud. Just as Stanley was one of the most important companies of the last century, producing tools that everyone can use, Microsoft is to this young century. The EIP project represents that move forward as an investment in New Britain, and Connecticut, and the future.