The Data Centers Sues University of Delaware
Rendering of the data center and power plant The Data Centers proposed to build on the University of Delaware’s STAR campus in Newark, Delaware. (Image: The Data Centers)

The Data Centers Sues University of Delaware

Developer behind failed data center project seeks to recoup $200M or more in damages

Fallout from the failed data center construction project in Newark, Delaware, continues to get nastier and nastier.

First, University of Delaware broke its lease agreement with the developer (the development was going to be on a university-owned property), dooming it to fail. What followed were lawsuits against The Data Centers LLC (the developer) filed by companies it had hired to do some initial work on the project. Then came a lawsuit by one of the partners in TDC against another.

Now, TDC is suing the university, claiming its leadership has sabotaged the $1.3 billion project, which would include a 280-megawatt cogeneration plant fueled by natural gas. The company filed the suit in Delaware Superior Court Wednesday, Delaware Online reported.

Essentially, the plaintiff is alleging that UD officials caved in under community pressure to kill the project after signing a 75-year lease agreement with the developer, which caused the developer to lose $200 million or more. TDC is claiming the officials were disingenuous in their stated reasons for breaking the lease to make sure the decision was legally defensible.

Members of the community who opposed the project were mainly concerned with impact the power plant would have on the area. TDC was also accused of not being forthcoming enough with details about its plans.

The plans were for something unprecedented: a large-scale data center powered completely by a cogeneration plant. But, perhaps ironically, the power plant, its most cutting-edge feature, was what brought it to its knees.

There is at least one other planned large-scale data center construction project that is facing strong community opposition today. Amazon subsidiary Vadata wants to build a data center for Amazon in Haymarket, Virginia.

A group of residents in the area has been vocal in opposing construction of an electrical transmission line that would be required to power the future facility. Two state legislators have sided with the opposition. One of them even penned a bill that would create a law that would make it much harder for the project to move forward.

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