IEDA also approves five awards to startups

A Meta subsidiary’s plan for an $800 million data center project in Davenport will receive a $161 million local property tax exemption through the state’s High Quality Jobs program.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority board voted Friday to approve the tax exemption request of 60% over 20 years from the city of Davenport, which had already approved the incentives, according to a project summary from IEDA. The project summary is in the IEDA board packet, available here.  

Vemerald LLC, the Meta Platforms Inc. affiliate company, told state and local officials that the project will create 35 jobs at $28.76 per hour and plans to break ground in the first quarter of 2025.

The IEDA report says construction is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2027.

The data center’s operations will involve storage and transfer of “large amounts of transactional data, including but not limited to, user and customer data,” the project summary says. The Meta campus in Davenport will have, in addition to the main buildings, ancillary buildings and support areas for office space, servers and support equipment.

Meta – which operates social media and global communications platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Threads and WhatsApp – has been expanding its data center presence in Iowa since 2013, when it announced its complex in Altoona near Interstate 80.

The 5 million-square-foot facility is considered the world’s largest data center, according to the city of Altoona’s economic development webpage.

Meta subsidiary Siculus LLC was previously awarded a local property tax exemption through the High Quality Jobs program in May 2019 for a $400 million capital investment in the Altoona data center project, IEDA records show.

Iowa has become a Midwest hub for data center construction activity over the last decade. In addition to Meta, Apple Inc. has built data center infrastructure in Waukee, and Microsoft has built in West Des Moines.

IEDA announces awards to five startups

The IEDA Board also made awards to five Iowa startups during its meeting on Friday.

Two companies each received a $50,000 proof of commercial relevance loan.

Bovi-Jet, based in Granger, makes devices for cattle producers to aid in animal health, according to the announcement. The product aims to reduce the time and manual labor required to treat livestock throughout their lifetime by using sensors to detect movement of cattle and pour a stream of medicine along the animals’ backs with a farmer’s existing chute system.

West Des Moines-based Incentit is an integrated incentive management platform supporting organizations that implement their own programs along with third-party program managers. The software offers program management, tracking and reporting, as well as a mobile app and application intake portals.

Three companies based in Ames, West Des Moines and Slater received awards from the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Innovation Fund. 

Ames-based biotech company PowerPollen focuses on transforming agricultural productivity and sustainability with hybrid seed and grain production systems. PowerPollen was awarded a $1 million Innovation Acceleration Expansion Fund loan for IP development and evaluation, prototype development and equipment, product refinement and testing, project team and partnerships, and manufacturing.

Tractor Zoom, located in West Des Moines, offers online solutions for the farm equipment and heavy machinery market. Its primary platform,, streamlines the process for buyers to find, value and finance equipment. Its cloud-based business-to-business platforms, Tractor Zoom Pro and Anvil Pro, help value, manage and sell equipment assets. The company received a $1 million Innovation Acceleration Expansion Fund loan for key personnel.

Gross-Wen Technologies, headquartered in Slater, provides a patented algae biofilm treatment system under the RAB brand. The technology enables the effective and sustainable use of algae to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater. It can also be used with clean water to grow valuable algae for various uses that include fertilizers, bioplastics and biofuels. The company was awarded a $500,000 Innovation Acceleration Propel Fund loan for key personnel and equipment.