The 48 acres of land in Sherman’s Progress Park being held for a possible $1 billion data center development is back on the market.
Sherman Economic Development Corp. President John Plotnik said the corporation will not be giving Thea Development LLC a second three-month option on the land it has been considering for purchasing since June.
“I’m working 17 companies that are looking at moving into this park,” Plotnik said of the city’s Progress Park industrial area. “At the end of three months, when their option expired, I said, ‘If you cannot identify a data center to us, then SEDCO’s not willing to extend the option for another 90 days.’ We have just too many other properties working.”
But both Plotnik and Thea Development CEO Margie Guido said the data center project is still a possibility for Sherman.
In June, the SEDCO board of directors approved a contract to sell 48 acres of Progress Park I to Thea Development to develop the infrastructure for five data centers as part of facility to be called Cassini Gateway I. At the time, Plotnik explained each of the five data center buildings would be an approximately $200 million facility and in excess of 200,000 square feet. The SEDCO president said the development would likely create 150 jobs with wages averaging between $80,000-$90,000 a year.
“We’re still working on the project and we’re moving it forward,” Guido said. “We still have an agreement with SEDCO about developing data center campuses. That’s still enforced and we’re still very much interested in the site. We think it’s a great site.”
Plotnik said SEDCO is still working with Thea Development and he knows Guido has been marketing the property aggressively.
“As a matter of fact, she called last week and said she has a couple data centers that are very active and very interested in it,” Plotnik said. “I said, ‘We will work with anyone that you bring us, but you have to understand we cannot hold that land back because of it wouldn’t be fair to Sherman — to tell other projects to go away because we’re hopeful that something might happen here.’”
Guido said the companies she’s working with wished to remain anonymous.
“I am subject to confidentiality agreements that I can’t breach,” she said.
Plotnik said there are currently three other projects interested in the Progress Park I land that was on hold, and 16 total projects considering locating in the Progress Park area.
“We’ve got projects everywhere from 30 to 50 acres to $50 million to $85 million in investments that are looking at our park,” Plotnik said.
Earlier this month, the SEDCO board approved the sale of 22.5 acres of land in Progress Park IV to FedEx Freight for a planned local expansion that will see the company invest between $10 million and $11 million on a new facility and add 45 new employees.
FedEx agreed to purchase the land for $45,000 an acre earlier this month, while the 48 acres Thea Development is interested in was appraised at $40,000 an acre earlier this year. Last month, SEDCO placed 64 acres of land just west of the Panda Power plant under contract for $450,000 to add it to the Progress Park industrial area.
“We like Sherman and we do have interest,” Guido said. “It’s a long process, as you might imagine, these are really big investments. It tends to be a very quiet industry — they worry about their competitive positioning. We just have to respect their request, it’s against us, but we have to respect their request to remain anonymous.”
Plotnik said even a possible $1 billion project can’t be counted on until it’s definite.
“We still believe this would be a great project for a data center because of the heavy power that runs here and the water we have available,” he said. “But we don’t want to turn away projects and hope to get a project. She’s still working on it, however, we want the opportunity to continue to market this property — it’s just too valuable of a piece of land.”