Fortune Data Centers Building in Portland, Oregon

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The exterior of the new Fortune Data Centers facility in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Data center developer Fortune Data Centers is expanding beyond its home base of Silicon Valley, and building a new center near Portland, Oregon. Fortune says the 240,000 square foot data center in Hillsboro, Oregon will be one of the most affordable and energy-efficient options in the wholesale market, in which corporations lease finished “plug-n-play” data center space.

The Fortune announcement comes just days after Digital Realty said it would build a custom data center for NetApp in Hillsboro. The two new projects, along with major Oregon facilities for Facebook (Prineville), Amazon.com (Umatilla) and Google (The Dalles) have established the state as the hot new destination for data center projects.

Oregon an Emerging Data Center Destination

The cool climate makes Oregon an ideal location for using outside air to cool servers, which offers potentially huge energy savings for data center operators. Equally compelling is the state’s business-friendly tax climate.

“Oregon has no sales tax and, in the Enterprise Zones, no business property tax,” said Jill Miles, national recruitment officer, Business Oregon. “This constitutes a large savings for capital intensive businesses like data centers, which buy expensive IT equipment and then must replace it regularly.”

Matt Mochary, CEO of Fortune Development Group, said Oregon’s tax structure could translate into 30 percent savings for tenants who refresh IT equipment. “By locating in an Enterprise Zone, our tenants will reap the same cost benefits experienced by the biggest Internet companies building their own data centers in Oregon, such as Facebook, Google and Amazon,” said Mochary.

7.8 Megawatts in First Phase

In May Fortune purchased a 15-acre site in an Enterprise Zone of Hillsboro, which is just outside of Portland. The site, which is adjacent to a major Intel facility, will offer 7.8 megawatts of power capacity in its first phase, which is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2012. Fortune says that could scale to more than 20 megawatts as the company expands.

“We are already over 55,000 man hours into the Phase 1 construction project,” said Mochary, who added the data center is expected to add 20-40 full time jobs in addition to tenant employees.

Fortune currently operates a single data center in San Jose, Calif., where the company recently completed a project to add another 1.4 megawatts of critical IT load, bringing the total capacity of the facility to 9.2 megawatts. Fortune’s Silicon Valley facility has earned a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Building on San Jose Accomplishments

“We are applying everything we’ve learned from building the San Jose facility,” said John Sheputis, CEO of Fortune Data Centers. “Fortune’s Oregon data center will provide an unprecedented level of efficiency and cost-savings for tenants, taken from a long list of industry firsts in the San Jose data center. The Oregon project is an extension of our commercial, technical, and efficiency innovations to date.”

The Hillsboro area is known as Silicon Forest due to its high concentration of technology companies, which has resulted in a ready supply of skilled IT workers. The area is also rich in trans-Pacific fiber, due to the presence of multiple undersea cable landings near Portland.

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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