A new multi-billion dollar tech center may come to Kansas City, bolstering the city’s reputation as the heart of the “Silicon Prairie”.
In a statement on their website, local developer Diode Venture claims the new “Golden Plains Technology Park” will feature data center facilities that will support a growing demand for data, cloud and other hosting services.
According to Fox4KC, the Kansas City Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee approved the plan to build the 5.5 million-square-feet of data center space.
The city council will vote on the proposal on April 29. If approved, Diode Venture expects the tech center to provide opportunities for employment and boost the local economy.
“I think, overall, the facility will have a positive impact on Kansas City because of the jobs, potential business and new infrastructure the project would bring,” said Mathewos Keller, student council president of the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering. “This would definitely bolster the ‘Silicon Prairie’ image just because of the sheer size of the project. It’s not every day a project of this size comes along.”
The Midwest is desirable for data centers due to geographic advantages. The Diode Venture website lists less risk of natural disasters, more options for renewable energy resources, and the location being a geographical midpoint that improves coastal network connectivity as reasons many tech hubs have migrated to the midwest.
Computer science and electrical engineering professor Baek-Young Choi says she believes that in the digital era, internet connectivity is comparable to the effect roads and airports historically had on the growth of a city.
“KC has been emerging as a tech hot spot in recent years and has been building up a national and global reputation in technology,” Choi said.
Diode Venture also cited economic advantages as a reason for tech companies to migrate to the Midwest.
“In general, the Midwest is seen as a cost-effective region for doing business compared to the densely-populated markets on the East and West Coasts,” the Diode Venture website reads. “More specifically, Missouri and Kansas City are seen as attractive places for businesses because of their state and local economic incentives.”
A Kansas City councilwoman told Kansas City Business Journal, “I think that it (the Golden Plains Technology Park) does so much more than just bring in a lot of money, but it brings in a transformational opportunity for education,” she said. “This is a great way to reinforce how we would educate our young people to stay and live and work in Kansas City.”
Choi said the Golden Plains Technology Park will also have an impact on UMKC.
“With the new tech center development, students would have richer opportunities for co-ops, internships and local employment,” Choi said.
Keller believes UMKC students will benefit from career and internship opportunities the tech center would provide.
“Some students have an internship requirement for their degree program and this would be a great experience to be a part of,” Keller said.