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The City Journals

Aligned Energy expands, residents respond

Nov 26, 2019 05:16PM ● By Erin Dixon

The groundbreaking for additional data center space took place in October. The new facility will be completed in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Aligned Energy.)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

Aligned Energy, a data center company that took over the former Fairchild Semiconductor building, has broken ground to add a second building. It will be completed early 2020. 

There were some concerns raised by a West Jordan resident that city leaders did not handle the transition to Aligned in an ethical manner. 

“Polarity and the West Jordan school district were ahead of Aligned for being able to use the building and land,” said one resident, who wished to not have his name included. “There is a city lawsuit against it due to the debacle there. For [due] diligence in environmental and residential impact, I asked point blank where the data is; they don't have it, which is required for something like this to even go before the council.”

Fairchild Semiconductor sold the building to West Jordan City leaders, who then sold it to Aligned. The purchase and usage by Aligned never came in front of the council because the zoning was not changed. 

Councilmember Alan Anderson clarified that, “The land is zoned M-1, and data centers are a permitted use in an M-1 zone, so no city council approval was needed for them [to] convert the existing building into a data center. Regulatory permits were issued by the State of Utah Dept. of Environmental Quality (Div. of Air Quality) for their backup generators. Their generators replaced Fairchild's generators and meet EPA Tier IV standards, the cleanest emissions for non-road diesel engines. Aligned uses roughly 10% of the water Fairchild used at its peak.”

In response to other concerns that there was underhand dealing, city officials had this to say:

“The Jordan School District did look at the property; however, ultimately, the price tag for such a move would have been too high,” West Jordan Communications Officer Tauni Barker said. “Polarity was interested in the property prior to its transfer from Fairchild to West Jordan. However, they were asking for the city to cover rent in the space for a period of three years—clearly not a viable option from the city’s perspective.”

Barker added insight about the legal history with the property.

“I have checked with our legal department,” she said. “There is not, nor has there ever been a lawsuit associated with this particular property.”

Aligned Energy also did not know of any lawsuit. 

Other residents are pleased with the development, especially from a high traffic and environmental impact semiconductor plant. 

“Considering it was sitting empty for years and no revenue was being generated, I think it was a great move,” Resident Tammy Bills said “Very few people commute to and from it. The water usage is low — I would imagine much lower than when it was occupied before.”

For more information on the Aligned Energy move to West Jordan, see our previously published article on Aligned Energy.