Inform, Entertain, Inspire
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Microsoft is coming to St. Joseph County; officially buys 900 acres in Granger

An unidentified company wants to rezone 900 acres of farmland northwest of Bittersweet and Cleveland roads to build a data center that would employ about 300 people.
WVPE/Jeff Parrott
An unidentified company wants to rezone 900 acres of farmland northwest of Bittersweet and Cleveland roads to build a data center that would employ about 300 people.

Announcements heralding massive investment deals from national brands are becoming almost commonplace in St. Joseph County as of late.

The county council is working through tax abatements for Amazon, which is building a series of data center shells in western St. Joseph County near New Carlisle. Right next to Amazon’s build will be a General Motors and Samsung EV battery plant.

This week, Microsoft is getting in the mix. On Tuesday, the company and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Microsoft will invest $1 billion into a data center in LaPorte. The center will involve cloud computing technology and AI infrastructure and will create 200 jobs in the next 8 years.

But Microsoft isn’t stopping in LaPorte. This week, the company was officially named as the purchaser of 920 acres of land in eastern St. Joseph County near Bittersweet and Cleveland roads in Granger.

St. Joe Farms has operated the land as a farm and wedding venue since 2008 and many Granger residents opposed it being rezoned from agricultural to industrial. Before that, the land was owned by Notre Dame where it helped fed the university

St. Joseph County Director of Economic Development Bill Schalliol confirmed to WVPE on Tuesday that Microsoft is the company buying the land. Schalliol’s team has been busy in the past few years sealing deals with a variety of large companies.

“It's been amazing the last year, year and a half, there's been a lot of interest in the county and the region and we're excited to see where that's headed," Schalliol said.

Schalliol didn’t say how much the sale was for. According to the South Bend Tribune — who first reported the purchase — Microsoft is paying St. Joe Farms owner Paul Blum $77.5 million for the land.

A message left for Blum was not returned. The website for St. Joe Farm is no longer working.

The land where Amazon and GM are building near New Carlisle has already been connected to utilities like water and sewer lines. But in Granger that’s not the case and the county will work with the city of Mishawaka to get utilities extended, meaning construction on Microsoft’s data center might not get under construction for a few years.

“Still a lot of work to be done, still on the very front end of this project,” said Schalliol. “You got through the zoning process. Now it needs to work through the project development phases.”

By contrast Microsoft’s center in LaPorte is further along and is set to be built on 490 acres at the Radius Industrial Park. The LaPorte facility will be 245,000-square feet and cost around $1 billion, per the state. With more than 900 acres available, the Granger site has the potential to be even larger.

Officials estimate the data center in Granger will create around 300 jobs. The measure to rezone the land to industrial was approved by the St. Joseph County Council last month by a 6-3 vote after three hours of debate and concerns by residents of the changing character of the area.

In a release, Microsoft says it will be carbon negative by 2050 and will replenish more water than it uses.

“Microsoft is excited to expand our datacenter infrastructure into Indiana, with our first campus to be built in La Porte,” said Microsoft executive Bowen Wallace in the release. “We appreciate the collaboration with the State, City and the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership that has made this opportunity possible. We look forward to an enduring and beneficial relationship with Indiana and the City of La Porte as we build and scale our data center infrastructure to support our customer and partners.”

Marek Mazurek has been with WVPE since April 2023, though he's been in Michiana for most of his life. He has a particular interest in public safety reporting. When he's not on the radio, Marek enjoys getting way too into Notre Dame football and reading about medieval English history.