Thursday, July 16, 2009

How the Yahoo! deal got done

Teamwork,hospitalityhelped win project

By Jonathan D. Epstein
Updated: July 12, 2009, 8:49 AM /

It was three simple words, but they practically took David Kinyon’s breath away when Sylvia Kang said them.

“We are Yahoo!.” For the previous few months, regional economic development officials had been working quietly to win a big project, code-named Project Pilgrim.

But that statement, back in April during a visit by Kang and her site selection team, was the first time Kinyon knew who he was dealing with and just how big a deal he was looking at.

“We were very surprised, and very impressed that Lockport would be considered for a Yahoo! data center location,” said Kinyon, the CEO of the Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency. “We never imagined that it was Yahoo!.”

What ensued over the next eight weeks was an aggressive collaborative campaign by a host of state and local leaders — up to and including the governor — in a bid to sell Western New York to Yahoo! and seal the deal.

Two months later, a Yahoo! executive stood with a cadre of politicians in a packed room at Empire State Development Corp.’s downtown Buffalo office, and announced that the Internet search giant would build a $150 million East Coast regional data center on 30 acres in the Town of Lockport Industrial Park.

In exchange, Yahoo! will receive 15 megawatts of low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority, plus local tax breaks from the town.

The project is expected to bring up to 125 jobs to the site, but officials hope Yahoo!’s reputation will also draw other technology companies to the region. More here.

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