Gov. Snyder tours Switch’s Kent County pyramid

Gov. Rick Snyder cutting the ribbon at the Switch Pyramid Campus on May 10, 2017. (Courtesy Switch)


GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Rick Snyder got his first look inside the new Switch Pyramid Campus in Gaines Township Wednesday.

Gubernatorial visits to new businesses are nothing out of the ordinary, but this is the self-proclaimed nerd governor.

“Yes, as a nerd this is a fabulous place,” Snyder said after the tour.

The tour was private. Switch provided photos of the visit to media outlets.

“This is truly exciting. This is the largest, most advanced data center in the eastern United States. Switch has done a great job of putting it together,” Snyder said.

It was late 2015 when it was first known the Nevada-based data storage company was looking at the former Steelcase research and development building, located at 60th Street and East Paris Avenue, as a site for their planned East Coast hub.

The company provides data storage to more than 1,000 clients, many of which are Fortune 500 companies.

But to get them here, the legislature had to approve changes in the tax law that would provide sales and use tax exemptions to data centers like Switch.

The controversial legislation passed, but has it had an effect beyond Switch?

“There are companies in this industry that are smaller than Switch that, I believe, are taking advantage of it,” Snyder said. “But again, if you look at it in terms of having great sites that are data centers, it’s a great way to attract other businesses.”

The governor also touted the future of the industry as a whole, using autonomous vehicle development as an example of the future needs for data storage and support.

“I think it’s a great sign they picked Michigan, to pick an iconic place like this and essentially revitalize it in such positive ways,” said Snyder.

The governor also expressing excitement over the planned Innevation Center — the ‘nev’ in the middle is a salute to the company’s home state of Nevada — at the pyramid.

>>Photos: Inside Switch’s Nevada campus

Patterned after a similar center opened on Switch’s Las Vegas campus, the center brings idea people, economic development people and nonprofit people together to nurture the next big idea.