QTS Plans Huge Virginia Data Center

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QTS is buying this former semiconductor plant near Richmond, Va. for conversion to data center use (Photo: Henrico County).

QTS has bought a huge former semiconductor plant near Richmond, Virginia and plans to convert it into one of the world’s largest data center campuses. The company, formerly known as Quality Technology Services, has confirmed that it has acquired the former Qimonda facility in Sandston, Va. in a bankruptcy court sale. The Qimonda property includes 210 acres of land and more than 1.3 million square feet of facilities from the former memory chip manufacturing operation.

The deal provides QTS with a huge footprint for its entry into the Virginia data center market, which has seen active leasing by Internet companies. Virginia is also expected to benefit from plans for the federal government to consolidate its data center space and shift some IT operations to a cloud computing model.

Bought for $12 Million
The purchase price for the Qimonda campus was $12 million, according to court documents. Memory maker Qimonda AG filed for bankruptcy protection in Jan. 2009, and several weeks later shut down its Richmond operations, laying off 1,500 workers and idling the huge facility. A QTS affiliate, Richmond Semiconductor LLC, will buy the property, while Texas Instruments has purchased most of the semiconductor equipment in a separate deal.

The economics of the deal are further improved by the existing infrastructure, which could dramatically reduce the time and investment needed to transform the Qimonda facility into to quality data center space. The property includes two fabrication facilities totaling 665,000 square feet of space, an additional 240,000 square foot manufacturing facility and a 316,000 square foot administrative building.

Those buildings contain 400,000 square feet of existing raised floor space, with more than 22,000 tons of chiller capacity on site. The campus also has a power capacity of 100 megawatts, with the potential to expand as high as 200 megawatts.

QTS isn’t the first company to convert a former fabrication facility into a data center. Previous examples include the Fortune Data Centers site in San Jose, Calif., which was previously a Seagate plant, and the Next-Generation Data facility in Wales, which was originally an LG semiconductor plant.   

Good fit for Enterprise, Government
QTS plans to convert the Qimonda facility into a data center campus, where it will offer custom data centers and its managed services platform. The company envisions the site as a good fit for large enterprises and government agencies.  

System integrator relationships figure to loom large in the bid for government work, and Quality Tech works closely with IBM, having bought Big Blue’s colocation business a few years back.

QTS has built a network of 11 data center facilities spanning more than 2.5 million square feet of space, growing through acquisitions of facilities and customers from eDeltaCom, IBM, NTT America and Globix. The company offers both wholesale data center space and managed services.

In October the company announced a $150 million investment from private equity firm General Atlantic LLC, which provided the company with additional capital to invest in data center capacity at a time when demand is outstripping supply in many key markets. QTS said it would use the funding to invest in both its existing facilties and in new data centers.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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