Data center developer DuPont Fabros Technology (DFT) reported impressive leasing during the first quarter, and says it has now completely filled the first phase of its Chicago-area data center. The company said it expects to begin construction on two more large data centers as soon as it can finalize funding for the projects.
In its first quarter earnings release, DuPont Fabros said it had signed seven new leases in the first quarter representing $325 million of contract value. The leases will fill 94,800 square feet of raised floor space and total 16.3 megawatts of power capacity.
"I am extremely pleased with our execution," said Hossein Fateh, President and CEO of DuPont Fabros. "Leasing remains a top focus for us and our sales and operating team has done a tremendous job to cultivate new tenants over the past two years, which is continuing to pay off. We firmly believe that demand for our highly quality wholesale data centers remains promising in all our markets."
Shares of DFT rose 64 cents Wednesday to close at $23.44, a gain of 2.81 percent on the session.
Strong Leasing in Chicago
Four of the leases were in the company's CH1 facility in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, where the pace of leasing activity has been scrutinized by analysts. The CH1 leases will fill the remaining 62,000 square feet of space in the first phase of the facility. Demand for space is strong enough that one tenant "has agreed to lease a pod at CH1 if an existing tenant does not exercise its right to lease such space."
Rackspace Hosting signed a lease for an additional 28.200 square feet (4.3 megawatts of critical load) in Chicago, bringing its footprint at CH1 to 65,000 square feet. DuPont Fabros did not identify any of the other companies that signed leases. Sources say one of the new Chicago tenants will be Acxiom, an interactive marketing firm that offers enterprise cloud hosting to its clients. A recent expansion announcement by a major customer of current tenant ServerCentral suggests that it's also a likely candidate to be acquiring more space at CH1.
ACC5 Nearly Filled
DuPont Fabros also announced two leases at its ACC5 data center in Ashburn, Virginia. The first was a lease for 1.14 megawatts of power (5,400 square feet) in the first phase of ACC5, which fills that section of the building. The second was a deal for 27,400 square feet (5.7 megawatts of power) in Phase II of ACC5, which is now 88 percent leased and won't open until later this year.
"Supply is limited or non-existent in northern Virginia for the type of facility we develop," said Fateh.
DuPont Fabros is currently focusing on completing construction on Phase II of ACC5 and a new data center in Piscataway, New Jersey. Both projects are fully funded. Fateh said the company is ready to build a new data center in Santa Clara, Calif. and a sixth facility in Ashburn as soon as it can arrange financing. Chief Financial Offer Mark Wetzel said the company is working to arrange unsecured debt to help finance these projects.
Optimism About Santa Clara
"Santa Clara is the logical next new development for us," said Fateh. "The Santa Clara market is the second-best market int he country, after northern Virginia. There's no huge amount of supply available, and not much in the pipeline. I'm excited about the project, and wish we had built it a year and a half ago. A lot of the tenants in that market require high density space, and our facilites are very competitive in higher densities.
"We also would like to begin development of ACC6," Fateh added. "Supply is limited or non-existent in Northern Virginia for the type of facility we develop. But we will not begin development at either (Santa Clara or ACC6) until they are fully funded."
DuPont Fabros reported first quarter funds from operations (FFO) of $0.30 a share, $0.01 better than Thomson-Reuters consensus. Revenue grew 21.6 percent year-over-year to $56.9 million, topping the Thomson-Reuters consensus of $55.0 million. DFT reaffirmed its guidance for 2010, projecting a FFO range of $1.25 to 1.45 a share.