North Carolina has been a hot market for data center development in the past two years, as the combination of affordable power and aggressive tax incentives have lured major new projects from Google and Apple.
T5 Partners would like to help accelerate the trend. T5 is a data center development company led by former data center specialists with The Staubach Company. After years of performing data center site selection for enterprise clients like T-Mobile and E-Trade, the T5 team decided to focus on the other side of the business.
The company is now developing existing structures and sites that can be quickly converted into major data centers, and is focusing its initial efforts on marketing two properties near Charlotte for data center development.
NC Wants Data Centers
"Choosing North Carolina first is no accident," said Peter Marin, president of T5 Partners. "It's based on the cost of power, incentives, low taxes and bringing the infrastructure together. The incentives are aggressive in North Carolina on purpose. They want to attract data centers."
T5 doesn't discuss its current clients, but the company is known to be working closely with officials in Catwaba County, where Apple is building a new $1 billion data center campus. State and local incentive packages are expected to result in about $46 million in rebates to Apple over the next 10 years.
T5 is focused on sites with existing structures and industrial-strength infrastructure in place, including adequate power and water supplies. The local utility for both its projects is Duke Energy, wich offers industrial power rates as low of 4 cents per kilowatt hour. T5's target market is Fortune 500 companies who want to control their own data center, but have a tighter time frame that may not work with a ground-up "greenfield" construction project.
"The option to fund and lease these facilities is very attractive," said Jason Chartrand, executive vice president of T5 Partners. "Our buildings are basically ready to go and ready for tenant improvement."
Sale/Leaseback As An Option
Chartrand noted that T5 is also working on arranging sale/leaseback deals, in which a property owner sells their building, while agreeing to continue to lease space in the building. The transaction generates cash for the former owner (now the tenant), and provides the new owner steady rent from the lease.
For companies looking for a wholesale data center solution, T5 is working with Power Loft, which recently opened its first data center in Manassas, Virginia. "We're able to address the speed-to-market issue with Power Loft," said Marin. "We can get someone operational in 90 to 120 days."
Both Power Loft and T5 Partners are backed by the real estate investment fund Iron Point Real Estate Partners, a real estate fund with offices in Washington, D.C. and Dallas.