San Antonio appears poised to win another big data center deal, this time with the National Security Agency, a significant employer in the area. The NSA plans to put a data center at the site of a former old Sony microchip plant on San Antonio's Northwest Side, according to an announcement from the office of U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez. San Antonio,
The facility will be the third major data center for San Antonio, joining a $126 million Lowe's data center and a planned $550 million Microsoft facility. San Antonio is gaining traction in data center site location searches because it has the cheapest electricity in Texas, which is a favored region for data centers because the state has its own power grid and is less vulnerable to rippling outages on the national power grid.
The NSA's need for additional data space may be related to infrastructure challenges at its facilities at Fort Meade, Md. where the NSA has maxed out the available power from the local utility company.
The exact size of the planned NSA data center was not detailed. The former Sony plant consists of two connected buildings with office and research and development space totaling 470,000 square feet. The NSA leased the site from Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) in 2005, with plans to locate as many as 6,000 employees at the site. More recently they have scaled back those plans, citing funding issues. The new data center is part of revived interest in the site, as landlord COPT is now planning an adjacent business park to hosue contractors.
Mario Hernandez, president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, told the San Antonio Express-News that the number of NSA employees in San Antonio is expected to double to more than 4,000 in coming years, including a "very large data center presence."
Robert Peche, the city's economic development department director, said the NSA was "looking at several sites around the country for a data storage facility. The fact they chose to come here is good news. We hope there is more to come."