Kent County pyramid set to Switch

Data storage company has renovated former Steelcase site in Gaines Township

Switch, pyramid
The Switch pyramid in Gaines Township on Nov. 17, 2016.

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Switch came to West Michigan with the promise of new jobs and a new industry.

So is the Nevada-based data storage company that bought the iconic pyramid building in southern Kent County keeping those promises one year later?

“That agreement has been met and surpassed. This company is everything they say they are,” state Rep. Ken Yonker, R-Caledonia, said.

>>Switch brings development to Kent Co.

Yonker, who’s wrapping up his last term in the Michigan House of Representatives, pushed for the legislation allowing Switch to avoid sales and use taxes that convinced the company to put an East Coast hub in West Michigan. In exchange for those tax breaks, Switch promised to invest at least $5 billion at the site and bring at least 1,000 jobs to the area over the next decade.

24 Hour News 8 hasn’t been allowed inside the pyramid — located at 60th Street and East Paris Avenue in Gaines Township — since Switch took it over earlier this year.

Yonker, however, got a tour a few weeks ago. He said the inside of the pyramid, which used to house the Steelcase research and development department, has been transformed.

“A whole new design that’s more futuristic. I call it Star Trek-ish,” he said.

>>Switch data center goes green

Yonker said the place is filling up two to three years ahead of schedule.

Switch, Gaines Township
A rendering of what the the pyramid will look like after Switch adds modular air handlers for its SUPERNAP Center.

Switch provides data storage for some big-name companies. Most of the jobs at the pyramid are will be for those customers — one of the newest of which is the State of Michigan.

“They’ve renovated three floors. The basement will be at capacity in January for all the data centers they can handle, all the servers they can handle,” Yonker said. “We have 100 employees there. And a new company coming in that will finish filling the basement … they’re going to have 100 employees.”

That doesn’t include the build out to add Switch’s exclusive SUPERNAP Centers to the site. Yonker said one Switch client is looking to move 1,000 jobs to the pyramid site once that build out begins.

>>Photos: Inside Switch’s Nevada facility

Adam Kramer, Switch executive vice president of strategy, released the following statement on Thursday:

“We are on schedule at the Switch Pyramid to open by the end of the year. We deeply appreciate and are impressed by the spectacular support we’ve received from West Michigan communities, residents and elected leaders. To date, we have hired more than 400 construction workers, as well as 30 full-time workers at the Pyramid, mostly in critical systems development and security. More full-time positions will be filled in the coming months and years.”