Data Centers, AI, and the Need for Power: Why Niagara Falls is the Ideal Location for Data Center Development

Niagara Falls, NY, has the opportunity to have a world-class, state-of-the-art data center with developers ready to go.

It will be a huge project. The developers, Niagara Falls Redevelopment and Urbacon, have the money, the skill, and the plans to build a mammoth $1.5 billion digital center with an emphasis on accommodating the needs of high-tech companies working to develop AI solutions to human needs.

It is the wave of the future, and they have only one obstacle. An archaic man sits in the mayor’s office who bizarrely wants to snatch their land for a pretty obsolete and unnecessary legacy project—a monument to himself.

A Mayor’s Obstruction

He wants to seize 10 acres of the data center developers’ land—right in the middle of their 100-acre project—just right smack in the middle, taking their entrance away, to build a 7,000 square foot arena, which nobody has ever established the city needs.

The mayor is a man of intemperate ways, Robert Restaino, a judge formerly kicked off the bench for his hot-headed arrogance, who persuaded the public to let him in as mayor in this low turnout city of depressed economic means.

Mayor Robert Restaino

Restaino’s Misguided Vision

Mayor Restaino has no money for his stadium, but much like the dog who spoiled the drinking water for other dogs by peeing in the pool, he would kill a $1.5 billion project that would employ 550 people in return for his Restaino Centennial Park Stadium, which might employ 50 people at taxpayer expense.

From a tax generator to a tax cost, Restaino will try to block the development for reasons unclear.

Lack of Feasibility Studies

He never did a feasibility study for the stadium. He never did a site selection study before deciding to take the land and stop the project.

The only clear idea is that Restaino is hell-bent on vengeance to block what is good for the city.

Restaino’s proposal includes a rock climbing wall and other attributes of a doomed investment

The Future at Stake

And while we ponder his blocking the data center, possibly because he does not understand what it is, and allow it to be developed somewhere else, for the need is there—perhaps we might wish to ascertain if there is need.

The future is being offered to Niagara Falls, and an old and not very wise mayor wants instead of economic development to build a costly, taxpayer-burdensome stadium that no study in the world said we needed until after he tried to block the data center.

A Possible Compromise

It is not too late, however. He could find another site for his stadium, and the city could have the economically viable data center while Restaino tried to fund his stadium with taxpayer money, which he currently does not have.

“Niagara Digital Campus” digital rendering courtesy of PRCG | Haggerty LLC

Looking at the Facts

But let us look at the facts:

  • The amount of data-center space in the U.S. grew 26% last year, and a record amount was under construction. As the demand for artificial intelligence explodes, the need for data centers has increased rapidly, but due to resources, the industry is having trouble with keeping up with the requests. Niagara Falls has the opportunity to create 5,600 high-paying jobs with more than $250 million in wages, with economic spinoff benefits expected to top more than $810 million by bringing a data center to the city.
  • It is important to understand that the largest tech companies in the world have shifted their focus to Artificial Intelligence and the construction of data centers. According to their latest quarterly reports, Alphabet (which owns Google), Amazon and Microsoft—the world’s cloud-computing giants—collectively invested $40b between January and March, most of it in data centers to deal with growing artificial intelligence (ai) workloads. As they spend billions of dollars, they continue to search for ideal locations to build more and more data centers.
  • Cities’ power supplies are being pushed to the brink. With the surge of data centers, cities inability to meet power supply demands are pushing many region’s energy to capacity. Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant in Niagara Falls is one of the largest hydroelectric plants in the United States. The city can supply numerous data centers with power. With an adequate amount of power, Niagara Falls is one the most attractive locations for data centers.
  • A data center in Niagara Falls can create more than 550 high-paying permanent jobs, with expected annual wages of nearly $29 million. Total economic benefit from the new facility is expected to exceed $250 million annually, with more than 1,700 permanent jobs created in support and ancillary businesses.
  • Over the past year, electric utilities have nearly doubled their forecasts of how much additional power they’ll need by 2028. Tech firms and data center companies have been on the hunt for areas that produce clean energy. The Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant is the second largest hydroelectric plant in the United States, allowing the city to meet energy demands, while doing so in a clean manner.
  • Creating a state-of-the-art data center will provide IT jobs for area residents. The development will also bring considerable county, local and school board tax revenues that will expand economic opportunity across the region.
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