The cloud-building continues in the busy northern Virginia market. Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) is developing a new data center on a 34-acre site in Ashburn, and reportedly has lined up Amazon as its anchor tenant. This is the latest in a series of new data center projects for Ashburn's "Data Center Alley," which continues to see robust activity.
COPT is a real estate investment trust that focuses on properties for the federal government, including specialized IT facilities for the defense sector. It already operates a large data center in Manassas in Prince William County, but appears to see an opportunity in joining the crowd in Ashburn in Loudoun County.
A COPT affiliate acquired the 34-acre Ashburn site from St. John Properties Inc this December for $14 million. St. John acquired the land for future development but decided to sell when it was approached with a prospective offer. “It was just a further assemblage of land in a market that we firmly believe in,” St. John Regional Partner Matt Holbrook toldf the Washington Business Journal, which was the first to report the deal and named Amazon as the prospective tenant. “We are rarely ever sellers of anything, but the compelling purchase price made us decide to sell in this case.”
COPT can’t comment because of SEC regulations, and St. John won’t comment on the buyer, but said that it was attractive because of location, data center potential and connections to a reclaimed water system from Loudoun Water, which makes it easier for data centers to provision large volumes of non-potable water for use in cooling towers.
The project will continue the data center building boom in Loudoun County, which is already home to more than 5 million square feet of data center space, with several more projects under way or in the development pipeline. This region of northern Virginia is perhaps the most connected piece of Internet real estate in the United States, housing servers for Facebook, Amazon, Rackspace, Google, Microsoft and hundreds of other companies.
Is Ashburn getting too crowded? Data center industry watcher Daniel Golding noted active projects by RagingWire, Sabey and Equinix and the prospect of future inventory from DuPont Fabros Technology.
"I think Ashburn is, at the moment, well supplied for data center space," Golding writes at DataCenter Insight. "That doesn't mean there is a glut, however. There are several large requirements on the street and same-store business is strong for Equinix, DLR (Digital Realty), and DFT."
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