GIGA Data Centers is seeking tax incentives to establish its second facility in an old nuclear research building.

According to a notice by the Industrial Development Board of the City of Oak Ridge in Tennessee, a decision on whether to grant the exemptions will be made on June 9.

It will be a virtual meeting due to fears surrounding Covid-19 and is available here.

The notice said the application for the tax breaks was for the retrofit and construction of the data center on 200 Summit Drive in the city of Oak Ridge.

The building GIGA hopes to turn into a data center – Google Maps

Nuclear home

The location was once used by the Y-12 National Security Complex to store documents on its ongoing nuclear projects.

Y-12 was the research wing of the Manhattan Project. The Y-12 National Security Complex is a US Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration facility located in Oak Ridge near the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (home to the Summit supercomputer).

The 30,000 sq ft (3,000 sq m) building is nowadays owned by TNBANK, a real estate investment company.

In a report by Oak Ridge Today back in 2018, CornerStone Realty was selling the property for TNBANK at the time. The article says the site was once proposed as a Target retail development.

It is unclear whether this sale was completed or if it was sold directly to GIGA. DCD has conducted the company for clarification.

What is certain is that GIGA is pursuing tax incentives, or more precisely, a payment in lieu of taxes. GIGA currently owns a 60MW facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Tennessee site is already listed as its second location with further details coming soon.

A payment in lieu of taxes is a payment made to compensate a government or officials for some or all of the property tax revenue lost due to tax exemptions.

Similar methods have been used by tech companies in the past. For instance, DCD reported on AWS's expansion into Morrow County, Oregon, and instead of annual property taxes, the company opted to pay $2m to be split among the county and local authorities.