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Verizon walks away from WNY data center

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Servers like these would have occupied a Verizon data center in Somerset. But citing a nagging lawsuit, the communications giant backed out of the project Thursday.

Remember that $4 billion proposed Verizon Data Center? The one that was offered hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to locate in rural Somerset, N.Y.? Where each of the 200 jobs would have cost $3.1 million in public funds to create?

Well, Verizon announced today those sweeteners weren’t sweet enough and walked away from the deal. Company officials cited an ongoing lawsuit filed by a property owner across from the proposed building site as the reason for their decision.

From the Buffalo News:

"I'm not surprised that Verizon would use the lawsuit as their excuse for backing out of Somerset," said Arthur J. Giacalone, [a lawyer for the property owner], claiming Verizon was playing Somerset against a site in Wyoming.

The lawsuit had been dismissed months ago, and the New York Supreme Court had refused to block construction based on the litigation’s merits. But an appeal that was slated for September would have meant another lost construction season for Verizon, moving the project back to spring 2012.

Last night, Governor Andrew Cuomo joined Senator George Maziarz and others on a conference call in an effort to keep Verizon officials at the table.

Buoyed by the success of attracting a similar project from Yahoo!, local economic development officials spoke of the deal as nearly a sure thing last fall.

Verizon has not indicated where the data center will eventually be located, if anywhere, though word last month was that the state of Wyoming was competing for the same facility - or a similar one.

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