Editor’s note: This story is reprinted with the permission of The News-Topic in Lenoir, N.C.

LENOIR, N.C. – Google is growing.

Indications are that the leader in Internet search and applications is expanding from its original construction plans in Lenoir.

The company, which is building a large data center off N.C. 18 between Harrisburg Drive and Virginia Street, visibly has increased its footprint in the area. For one, the size of the data center currently under construction is now much larger than originally thought, stretching from N.C. 18 along Harrisburg Drive toward Overlook Drive.

A second construction area, located above the site and linked by a recently-completed bridge, is currently being prepped for development.

“We pour an upper pad to prepare the pad for a second facility,” Google Public Relations Manager Barry Schnitt said. “Once the second is done, we pour a pad for a third.

“We never said how big each one was going to be. As our capacity needs continue to progress, we will meet it, if there is any.”

Google announced Jan. 18 that it would locate a data center, euphemistically known as a server farm, in Lenoir. The company said it would invest a minimum of $600 million for the project and estimated it would create 210 jobs.

Documents released following a public records request by the News-Topic show that the scope of the project could expand, bringing the company’s overall investment to as much as $1.8 billion.

Approximately 20 percent of the investment is expected to be in taxable real estate, of which Google will pay 20 percent of the property taxes owed. As a result, Lenoir and Caldwell County could see tax revenues from the Google campus increase substantially above what originally was thought if the project expands.

Lenoir and Caldwell County lured Google by offering a 30-year tax credit for 100 percent of business property taxes and 80 percent of real estate property taxes. In addition, the company received an exemption from sales taxes on electrical power and a Jobs Development Incentive Grant from the state.

Under the original estimate, the city and county likely would receive between $130,000 to $160,000 each for property taxes when construction is completed. But with a larger value of real estate property, Lenoir and Caldwell could receive two to three times as much revenue.

“We are moving ahead on the Lenoir site,” Schnitt said. “The whole pie is getting bigger.”

Google, which has its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., continues to undertake a massive construction schedule for new data centers. Earlier this week, the company announced it will build a server farm near Council Bluffs, Iowa. The plan follows similar announcements for facilities in Pryor, Okla., and Goose Creek, S.C. The company already has a data center in operation in The Dalles, Ore.