Demand for data center space is boosting the commercial real estate market in downtown St. Louis, according to the New York Times, which cites a recent lease by Unisys as a sign that the city “may become a regional hub for computer software and data center companies.”
Unisys leased 10,000 square feet of space at 555 Washington Avenue in a deal seen as a key symbolic win for St. Louis, which won out over Minneapolis and Salt Lake City in the bid for the Unisys project. The Unisys facility is described alternately as a data center, IT center and software development center. The company says it has 65 employees in the current space and could eventually grow to 300 employees in 60,000 square feet. Those staffing numbers suggest that a good chunk of the space is probably for offices rather than servers.
But the Unisys deal isn’t the only sign of demand in downtown St. Louis. Last Year Digital Realty Trust added 16 megawatts of power capacity at 210 North Tucker, one of the two carrier hotel properties the company owns downtown. Last year Xiolink bought a building that once housed a printing press for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and is investing $14 million to renovate the building as a data center hub.
While the Times focused on the downtown area, the suburbs of St. Louis are home to several new facilities, including research centers for two of the industry’s leading vendors of power and cooling equipment.
In 2009 Emerson Network Power built a $50 million data center at its St. Louis headquarters campus that features the state’s largest solar array and saves energy by using slightly higher voltage in its power distribution system. Here’s a picture:
In 2007 Schneider Electric, the parent company of APC, built a 100,000 square foot technology center in the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon. The facility includes 11,000 square feet of working raised floor space for customer testing, as well as a 9,000 square foot area with dual air chambers to create test environments ranging from 50 degrees to 110 degrees (see video).
St. Louis is also home to the corporate headquarters of managed hosting and cloud computing provider Savvis, which are located in a 156,000 square foot building in Town & Country, Missouri that’s owned by Digital Realty Trust.