The planned $1 billion data center development Cassini Gateway I currently has two companies considering moving to the city, the Sherman Economic Development Corp. president said Tuesday.

“I talked to the consultant last night and they are working with actually two data centers that are very interested in moving into Sherman,” SEDCO President John Plotnik said. “The beauty and the advantage of Texas is our low cost of doing business. The advantage to Sherman is, not only do we have ample water to serve their needs for cooling, but we have very low kilowatt-power rate costs. Also, we have a shovel-ready site and a pro-business environment.”

The SEDCO board of directors approved a contract earlier this month to sell around 90 percent of Sherman’s Progress Park I to Thea Development LLC in order to develop the infrastructure for five data centers in Cassini Gateway I. Thea Development CEO Margie Guido said the data centers her company is targeting contain computer servers that hold information for the internet and provide cloud services.

“They’re looking at one building a year over a five-year period,” Plotnik said. “Each building will be in excess of 200,000 square feet and they’ll also construct a substation, which will feed from Panda right into their data center network.”

Plotnik previously said each of the five data center buildings will be an approximately $200 million facility. He also said he expects the 150 jobs the data centers will create will have wages averaging between $80,000-$90,000 a year and those primary jobs will create secondary jobs as suppliers, customers and other companies that work with the data centers move into the area.

The SEDCO president said a major reason why Thea Development is planning five separate buildings instead of one very tall building is security.

“In case of an event, they’ll have redundancy where they’ll not be able to lose a beat in handling their clients’ data,” Plotnik said. “And that’s typically what data centers are going to now. They want to spread out their buildings in order to have backups in case it’s needed.”

Plotnik said the deal with Thea Development will see the company pay around $1.84 million for the 48 acres of land as each was appraised at about $40,000 an acre. However, before the contract closes, Thea Development has two 90-day option periods on the land.

“So they have six months to do all their due diligence, but that’s a good thing because SEDCO is going to need six months to blend together federal, state, county, city and SEDCO incentives,” Plotnik said. “So all these variables are moving right now. Yesterday, we supplied them all the available information we had on the site that’s in our possession. So they’re looking at construction costs, land prep, and we’re looking at all the incentives that we have to blend together. And all that takes time so that they can get a final idea of what the cost of doing business is.”

Plotnik said SEDCO doesn’t know who the companies interested in locating their data centers in Sherman are, but they will have to be identified to the organization so those incentives can be contracted to the employer.

When the deal was announced, Guido explained her company will be overseeing the building of the campuses and infrastructure to provide the resources for independently-owned data centers to come in and locate their businesses in Sherman.

“The industry is growing rapidly and this area has a lot of great resources, and we believe it’s very, very attractive for data centers,” Guido said. “I think it’s a great community and I think the resources here are second to none.”

She said each of the five planned facilities is expected to take 12 to 14 months to build. Plotnik said once the contract closes and the sale is final, he would hope to see construction start in the first quarter of next year.