Google taps Southaven for first center of its kind in U.S.

The first Google Operations Center in the United States will be built in Southaven, on a site of rolling, wooded acreage 3.5 miles from Memphis along Interstate 55, the search-engine company announced Thursday, July 9.

Google’s goal is to hire 100 people by year’s end, and to open the 60,000-square-foot building at 5665 Airways by summer 2021.

Online hiring is already starting

Panattoni Development will build the structure, which Google will lease.

Google did not provide an architectural rendering, but a source familiar with the plans describes it as a modern, one-story building with lots of glass, a walking trail and parking areas that include charging stations for electric vehicles.

The facility will provide customer and operations support to Google customers and users around the world.

“This Google Operations Center represents a critical investment for the company and we look forward to being an active member of the local community for years to come,” Troy Dickerson, Google Operations Center vice president, said in a prepared statement.

“The new site will give us the opportunity to hire amazing local talent and we are confident that the Southaven community will be a great home for our Operations Center,” Dickerson said.

Google will establish a temporary office in Memphis while the Southaven building is under construction.

In December, Google announced it will locate its first U.S. operations center somewhere in northwest Mississippi. The company’s announcement on Thursday confirms the specific location that The Daily Memphian identified through sources in early April.

In its December announcement, Google also said 350 people will would work at the center. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic the company has adjusted the “first phase” of hiring to 100 by year’s end.

Google is not offering any additional, “forward-looking” hiring numbers, a spokesperson said.

The company is taking a conservative approach to future investments because of the pandemic, and will hire based on Google’s needs, the spokesperson said.

A college degree is not required to work as a customer support associate. The company will provide “competitive wages and comprehensive health care,” the announcement states.

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Employees at a Google Operations Center answer customer calls and use text chats and email to troubleshoot problems for customers or help with advertising campaigns.

Called “operation specialists,” the employees help customers with such company products as YouTube ads, Google Play, Google Wallet, Google Hardware and Google Maps.

The building will rise on rolling acreage now filled with hardwoods and pines that tower over thick under-story growth.

A reporter, walking through the woods on Wednesday, disturbed a number of white-tailed rabbits and a sleeping fawn, which bolted away from its bed under tall plants.

The woods are pastoral but, on the west side, are filled with the constant whine of interstate traffic.

The building will be accessed from Airways. The site is about a quarter-mile north of Tanger Outlets shopping center, immediately south of Terraces of Southaven apartments, and directly across I-55 from Southaven RV & Marine.

The nearest I-55 exit is Church Road.

Written statements about Google’s announcement from local and state elected officials include:

Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite: “Google is a titan in the global economy and we are honored to have their first-class operation in our city.”

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves: “I am truly honored and excited that Google has chosen to open their new operations in Mississippi. This is a true testament to our skilled workforce and the increasing economic strength of our great state.”

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker: “Google’s decision to locate more than 100 jobs and their first U.S. Operations Center in Mississippi is a testament to our state’s great workers and pro-growth policies. I am glad to welcome one of the most innovative companies in the world to Southaven.”

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith: “Mississippi continues to attract companies across a variety of business sectors, and it’s exciting to have Google contributing to the growing tech economy in our state.”

U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly: “Mississippi is known for its outstanding workforce and business friendly climate. This winning combination makes for a solid investment. We are thankful to have the first U.S. Google Operations Center in Southaven.”