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Microsoft gets OK for 4th building near Pangborn Memorial Airport

By Emily Thornton, The Wenatchee World
Published: April 9, 2024, 7:28am

Microsoft’s fourth data center building is on the near horizon — with its second and third taking shape next to the first finished one — near Pangborn Memorial Airport.

The one-story, 237,337-square-foot building, “D,” will sit on Urban Industrial Way, as do the other three, called A, B, and C, but is on an adjacent lot, according to Douglas County documents.

The building permit, issued by the county in February, was $436,820 and expires Dec. 16. However, Douglas County policy allows the expiration date to be extended by one year following each approved inspection, according to Douglas County Administrator Jordyn Giulio.

“Site work has begun, but we have not conducted any inspections at this time and cannot speak to the progress,” Giulio wrote in an email.

Microsoft declined to answer questions on its data center buildings, except: “The Microsoft in Your Community page is all we have to share at the moment,” read an email from Kelly Crum, with Waggener Edstrom (WE) Communications, which handles media relations for Microsoft.

The main landing page says “Microsoft operates datacenters in Quincy and is developing new datacenters in Malaga and East Wenatchee.” Another page is dedicated to the project in Malaga, but none appear to exist for East Wenatchee.

The fourth data center building, which sits outside East Wenatchee limits with the other three, has a valuation of $55.2 million, based on International Code Council data. Giulio said the county isn’t privy to the building cost. When finished, the building will be 30 feet high with 12 restrooms, according to the permit. A 20,700-square-foot space will provide parking and it will have a 60,000-square-foot driveway.

Microsoft purchased the fourth building’s 60-acre lot on Feb. 26, 2021, from Dynamic Properties of Washington for $9.6 million, according to the Douglas County Assessor’s Office website.

The first three buildings’ 101.87-acre plot was sold on July 15, 2020 from Western Sunset 2 LLC for $9.718 million. A 4.91-acre lot was also part of this deal.

Another 20-acre lot beside these was sold to Microsoft for $3.5 million on March 29, 2021, from Blackhawk Development Inc. Two new address permits were issued for the lot in January, according to documents, for buildings “E” and “F.” If these buildings are added, it would complete Microsoft’s original plan of having six near Pangborn.

Additionally, 93.72-acre and 55.16-acre lots near Eighth Street sold to Microsoft on Dec. 22, 2021 for $13.7 million total from P&F Holdings LLC. No building permits were filed as of this week for these.

The first data center building in the Wenatchee Valley began operating in December 2022. A grand opening and tour were provided by invitation only. The 244,440-square-foot, white, rectangular building holds tens of thousands of data servers, and was valued at $409 million. It was expected to create jobs for about 50 full-time employees, said Paul Englis, Microsoft director of community development, at the tour.

Microsoft reimbursed Douglas County PUD for building a new substation in 2022 for its data centers. Microsoft was expected to use up to 10 megawatts of electricity from the PUD through the Veedol Substation, said Meaghan Vibbert, PUD spokesperson, at the time. Microsoft purchases power from the open market, not from the PUD.

The second and third buildings, “B” and “C,” which are under construction, are both slated as one-story, 244,440 square feet, 30 feet high, with 12 restrooms, according to records. They’re each valued at $47.1 million.

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