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Proposed Amazon 100MW data center to be probed for environmental impact

Big tech may be making a huge mark on southern Santa Clara County.

The City of Gilroy is soliciting bids in order to determine the environmental impact of Amazon’s Gilroy Data Center, or GDC, one of two major projects the tech giant is pushing forward in the South Bay.

“Gilroy has put out a request to get consultants outside of the city to come in and assist us with fully understanding what the benefits of such a project might be, as well as some as what the drawbacks might be, and what opportunities we have as a city to try to mitigate some of those negative impacts,” said Gilroy Vice Mayor Peter Leroe-Munoz.

Leroe-Munoz, who is also General Counsel and Senior Vice President at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, said the city has been working behind the scenes for years to attract tech companies into the city, but added city leaders would not be “rubber stamping” projects.

“We certainly want to be very thoughtful, as we are with every applicant that comes to our city. We have a lot of resources that we offer here. We have a very diverse, young and growing workforce. So there are benefits that we offer to innovation industries that want to locate here in Gilroy. And we certainly want to work with them, but we want to make sure it’s a good fit for both partners,” said Leroe-Munoz.

The GDC would sit atop a 66-acre parcel behind the Gilroy Unified School District, along the eastern side of Highway 101.

The details are still being worked out, but the data center would likely consist of several buildings totaling around 500,000 square feet, to “reliably meet the increased demand of the digital economy,” the company said in a statement.

Less than a mile south, Amazon is also moving forward with plans to build a large distribution center and warehouse, dubbed “Project Garlic,” on a 60-acre parcel located at the northeast corner of Camino Arroyo and Highway 152. The company is also working out plans that would total 400,000 square feet, along with a six-acre commercial development.

Less than a mile south of Project Garlic is yet another project from another tech giant. In 2019, Google purchased a 40-acre rectangular plot to build a nursery in order to grow their own trees for the company’s real estate developments.

“I think Gilroy has had a moment for quite some time. I think it’s time that Silicon Valley finally recognized that the southernmost city in Silicon Valley is certainly open for business and has so much to offer,” said Leroe-Munoz.

The vice-mayor assured citizens that the city would not abandon its agricultural roots.

“We recognize that history. We recognize its importance to our local economy and it is something that we are going to protect, in addition to bringing a diversity of jobs and economic opportunities to our communities,” said Leroe-Munoz. CBS KPIX

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