Microsoft pulls the plug on Prague 9 data center

Published: 20. 10. 2023

Not even the world’s largest software company could crack the Czech bureaucracy code. But when E15 asked government sources for a reaction to news that Microsoft has given up on its plans to build a CZK 5.5 billion data center, it had nothing to say.

One source close to the project said, “The legislative demands for the construction operation of data centers are so strict that there’s nothing else like them in the world.” The American giant bought a 6 ha site near the Letňany metro station from CPI for CZK 1.5 billion last year and set aside CZK 4 billion in financing. But E15 reports that it gave up because of the usual bureaucratic nonsense that plagues all investors in the country: the opaque planning process and absurd delays in issuing construction permits.

“This isn’t the first big investor that’s given up on developing land it owns in Prague because of uncertainties surrounding the master plan,” said Prague 9’s town councilor for development Jiří Janák. “That uncertainty is reflected in the reality that investors are gradually leaving Prague and the Czech Republic and shifting their investments to neighboring states that have a predictable policy for the development of their cities.”

Microsoft opened a data center in Poland earlier this year. “If we don’t give investors a clear signal that we value them, they’ll go elsewhere,” said Zdeněk Zajíček, president of the Czech Chamber of Commerce.

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