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Condos May Sideline $20M Verizon Project

Verizon says it it may mothball a planned $20 million data center improvement project in Irvina, Calif. because of plans for a condominium development.

Verizon says it it may mothball a planned $20 million data center improvement project because of condominium development on adjacent land. Verizon is concerned about having homes close to its 42,000 square foot wireless data center facility in Irvine, according to the Orange County Business Journal, which says company officials won't even give out the site's address for fear of sabotage.

Verizon's plans call for replacing computers, tripling backup generators and adding cooling fans, a Verizon spokesman said. "We've been withholding our $19.5 million investment," spokesman Ken Muche told the business journal. "We haven't decided whether we will or not." The OCBJ web site has a subscription wall, but you can still access it via a Google News search.

Two condo towers have gone up near the facility, and additional projects are planned. The area has traditionally featured business and industrial facilities, and tech companies that have invested millions in their buildings there are worried. One concern is that generators, trucks or other noise might keep residents awake, sparking complaints to the city.

Neighbor complaints about noise can mean long-running headaches for data center and carrier hotel operators. The most prominent example involves 60 Hudson Street in New York, one of the country's most wired buildings. For nearly a decade the building has been the target of protests from some of its Tribeca neighbors, who object to noise from the generators as well as the storage of diesel fuel "day tanks" on upper floors of the building.

A community group, Neighbors Against N.O.I.S.E., has waged a long-running battle over the generator noise, which the group says can exceed 70 decibels at times. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the group focused its attention on diesel fuel storage. The city has pressed the building managers, GVA Williams, for safety improvments as part of a broader agreement that allows 60 Hudson to continue storing diesel fuel on upper floors.