KEARNEY — Selling five acres for $75,000 for a data center at Tech oNE Crossing could net the city of Kearney $528,000 annually in new revenue.
The Kearney City Council will consider the land sale to Compute North when it meets Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday’s agenda, the council will be asked to approve a new subdivision in northeast Kearney that eventually could add 159 house lots to the city. Neighbors in the Buffalo Ridge Estates object to the new Arbor View development because they believe the added traffic will ruin their lightly traveled gravel roads.
By approving the $75,000 land sale for Compute North's data center, the council will boost energy sales by Nebraska Public Power District.
To deliver the energy it sells in Kearney, NPPD leases the city’s electrical grid — an arrangement that nets the city about $6.4 million annually in lease revenue.
Although the Compute North facility is labeled a “mini” data center, it will be a big consumer of electricity. To operate and cool its facility, Compute North will need as much as 20 megawatts at any given time. That large load is expected to boost NPPD’s lease payments to the city of Kearney by $528,000.
City leaders anticipate the Compute North data center will yield benefits beyond the added revenue.
Two weeks ago the city of Kearney and Development Council of Buffalo County announced they had reached an agreement with the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Compute North LLC to build a $7.65 million data center at Tech oNE.
Councilman Randy Buschkoetter said the addition is a coup for Kearney because Compute North’s data center will increase the attractiveness of Tech oNE, which currently has the Xpanxion Executive Briefing Center and the 53-acre SoCore solar farm.
Xpanxion performs software development and testing in its offices, while the $11 million SoCore facility is Nebraska’s largest solar farm.
The Development Council and city have been actively recruiting tech firms, so adding Compute North will boost Tech oNE’s profile significantly, Buschkoetter said. “This is one of the things we’ve really been working for.”
Buschkoetter said he also believes having another tech firm in the city will benefit the University of Nebraska at Kearney, which supplies some of the software personnel for Xpanxion. Computer North will have 10 full-time employees.
Councilwoman Tami James Moore said she’s encouraged because Compute North officials said they will work with local companies.
Consideration of the Arbor View Subdivision was on the council’s June 11 agenda, but the item was tabled and will be discussed Tuesday.
Kearney developer Tim Norwood of NP Land Development won the endorsement of the Kearney Planning Commission on May 17 for his Arbor View plans. However, residents of the nearby Buffalo Ridge Subdivision told the planners they are concerned their roads would be no match for an estimated 362 vehicles that will be coming and going each day after the subdivision is fully developed.
Buffalo Ridge resident Marsha Wilkerson wrote to the Kearney City Council: “This plan pushes city traffic through our county subdivision. That would be OK for a small number of homes, but 159 homes is a density that we could not have imagined when we purchased our lot 16 years ago.”
Although the entire Arbor View Subdivision could contain 159 house lots, Norwood intends to develop 30 house sites in the first phase, a 17.28-acre tract east of Avenue N between 63rd and 67th streets near Buffalo Ridge Golf Course. The tract currently is outside Kearney city limits, but it is inside the city’s two-mile zoning jurisdiction, so the developer must get the city’s go-ahead.
Plans call for Arbor View to be annexed into the city.
According to a memo to the City Council, the primary access into Arbor View would be off Avenue N at 65th Street. Avenue R will be the north access out of the subdivision. The west access into the subdivision will be 63rd Street. A drainageway prevents any southern vehicle access to Arbor View.
Buffalo Ridge residents said they’re worried their roads will need to be improved to accommodate the heavier traffic, but it’s unfair for Buffalo Ridge residents to bear all of that cost.
Platting of Avenue R with Arbor View’s initial 30-lot development will require Avenue Q, located in Buffalo Ridge’s second phase, to be developed to allow for secondary access into the new subdivision.
According to the development agreement with City Hall, Norwood has agreed to develop Avenue Q to county standards.
Tuesday’s council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, 18 E. 22nd St., and is open to the public.