Rockdale: New Central Texas data center will create 400 jobs

Published: Aug. 6, 2018 at 6:00 PM CDT
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A $500 million data center that Bitmain Technologies, Ltd., plans to build in Rockdale will create 400 new jobs, Rockdale Municipal Development District officials said Monday.

“This is a great day for all the citizens of Milam County,” said Dr. John Weed III, president of the Rockdale MDD.

The company, which officials described as a world leader in blockchain hardware, software and services, plans to make an initial investment of more than $465 million in retro-fitting buildings, machinery and equipment.

The Milam County Industrial Development Corporation and Milam County commissioners approved an economic development incentive package that includes a tax abatement that will be phased in over 10 years.

“A deal like Bitmain is a game changer for Milam County,” said Richard E. Williams, Jr., president of the industrial development corporation.

“While a ‘clean’ industry, it will diversify the labor supply, significantly increase exposure to technology, increase by half the tax base of Milam County and more than double the tax base of Rockdale ISD. The 400 new jobs in addition to an estimated 137 spin-off jobs could make a major dent in Milam County’s relatively high unemployment rate, while salaries and benefits are above average for Central Texas,” he said.

The industrial development corporation and Milam County commissioners approve an economic development incentive package that includes a tax abatement that will be phased in over 10 years.

The development district, the Cameron Industrial Foundation and Workforce Solutions of Central Texas are working with the company to develop training opportunities for future employees, officials said.

“This is an exciting time for Milam County. We are looking forward to welcoming our newest employer to our business community,” said County Judge Dave Barkemeyer.

The data center will offset the hit the county took in October 2017 when Luminant announced in October 2017 that it planned to close the two-unit Sandow Power Plant in Milam County and the Three Oaks Mine in Bastrop County, which supported the Milam County plant, which affected a total of about 450 employees.

Rockdale weathered a similar blow in 2008 when Alcoa announced it was curtailing smelter operations and laying off more than 1,500 workers.