Getting Alabama to come out on top of Google’s own search results for its high-tech data center took thousands of emails and texts, 20 visits from the company to north Alabama and the last-minute signature of a mayor named Bubba.
The key players in the recruitment of the $600 million Google data center to Jackson County gave a behind-the-scenes look at the twists and turns the project took before settling on 500 acres at a power plant that was shutting down. The recruitment was the subject of a panel discussion at last week’s Economic Development Association of Alabama summer conference.
It was a project shrouded in secrecy. At various times, it went by the codename of “Project Zebra” and “Project Spike.” Officials involved in the recruitment had to sign nondisclosure agreements even though they didn’t know the name of the company.