Yahoo Coming To Metro

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman made it official on Friday, announcing Yahoo is coming. The Internet search giant plans to invest at least $100 million in a new data center in La Vista and a customer service center in Omaha.

"With all the news we're facing across this country right now with the loss of jobs and all that, is this not a breath of fresh air?” asked Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey.

The First National Business Park in west Omaha will be home to the customer care center that should open next April.

"I really think La Vista's created a climate that has made us a leader in economic development in the last five to six years,” added La Vista Mayor Douglas Kindig.

The data center is already under construction and should open late next year.

Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, California, applied for tax breaks earlier this year, which are available to businesses that set up in Nebraska. The move helped set up some operations in La Vista.

"Omaha, Nebraska is ideally situated, obviously right in the middle of the country," said Yahoo’s Kevin Timmons. "What a lot of people don’t know though is that there is major fiber optic routes run right through the Omaha metropolitan area and that’s how we deliver our products."

The company will have to invest at least $100 million and create at least 100 jobs within seven years. Those jobs would come with a minimum average salary of $68,700.

However, Yahoo has reported major earnings losses. This past week, it announced it would cut 10 percent of its employees, 1,500 people, due to a 64 percent drop in third-quarter profits.

Yahoo last laid off workers in February. In that round, about 1,000 employees were cut loose, but the company's payroll returned to the previous level within months.

Officials say that won’t affect jobs created in Omaha because those jobs are crucial to the growth of the company.

Yahoo is bracing for a deep downturn likely to extend well into 2009 by trimming $400 million from its annual expenses of $3.9 billion. Besides the recently announced layoffs, Yahoo may close some of its U.S. offices and assign more jobs to lower-paid contractors in other countries.

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