Virginia’s Data Center Alley Continues to Grow

Corporate Office Properties Trust is the latest in a long line of organizations that have opened up shop in Virginia’s famed “Data Center Alley.” The Loudoun County area currently boasts approximately 7.5 million square feet of data center space, including COPT’s most recent additions. The company recently announced that it purchased land with plans to construct two Ashburn data center shell buildings.

The new Virginia data centers will represent a $42 million investment by the company, including the 315,0000-square-foot structures and remaining land that COPT can utilize for an additional building later down the line. The first 200,000-square-foot structure was scheduled for completion last year. Ground breaking is due to begin on the second, 115,000-square-foot data center midway through the year. Groups have already begun executing leases in the first structure, and businesses will be able to lease space in the second approximately nine months after construction is finished.

These newest investments bring COPT’s total leasing volume data center footprint to 1.2 million square feet. COPT president and chief executive officer Roger Waesche said the organization is pleased to open these facilities to meet customer demands in the area.

Buddy Rizer, Loudoun County Department of Economic Development assistant director, said the area offers several incentives for businesses building data centers, including access to infrastructure connections like the local water system and other operational savings.

“This area of Loudoun County is close to the backbone of the Internet, as well as to Dominion Virginia Power’s Beaumeade substation,” Rizer told the Loudoun Times.

Five Virginia Data Centers
DuPont Fabros Technology is no stranger to the Virginia area, with its fifth Ashburn data center completed in 2012. The company has been in the region since 2005. The organization’s first data center in Ashburn, ACC2, includes 10.4 megawatts of critical load in two computer rooms. Its ACC4 facility is a 348,000-square-foot structure with 36.4 MW of critical load. In all, seven of the company’s 10 data centers are in Virginia and five are in Ashburn alone, showing DuPont Fabros Technology’s commitment to customers in the region.

Data Center Tax Incentives
RagingWire is another company with data center space in Virginia. The organization has a 150,000-square-foot colocation data center campus in Ashburn with 21 MW of facility power and 2N+2 redundant components delivering 100 percent service availability. RagingWire also announced a second investment in Data Center Alley: the purchase of 78 acres in Ashburn for a second structure which could exceed one million square feet.

The company also noted that one of the main draws for customers to do business in the Virginia data center market is the area’s tax incentives being offered. The most recent incentive in the state is a sales tax exemption as part of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. In exchange for a $150 million capital investment and 50 new jobs created over the next five years, RagingWire and its customers will be exempt from sales tax on the purchase of computer equipment and other data center components.

RagingWire chief financial officer Mark Morrow said the agreement not only shows the company’s commitment to the local business community, but also encourages customers to look for colocation data center space in Virginia.

“Equally as important are the tangible financial benefits that our customers gain from this agreement, as it promotes their growth from within our facility,” Morrow said.

The three House Bills, which have been in effect since July of 2012 also offer exemptions for technology start-ups and tax credit for telework programs, among other incentives intended to boost data center real estate investment in the state.

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