Another Huge Northern Virginia AWS Data Center Campus Greenlighted

Loudoun County supervisors vote to approve 1.75M-square foot data center project near the Dulles airport.

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

November 6, 2020

2 Min Read
Another Huge Northern Virginia AWS Data Center Campus Greenlighted
Chesnot/Getty Images

Local officials have approved a massive new data center construction project by Amazon Web Services in Northern Virginia, already home to the cloud platform’s largest availability region.

Approval of the project to build 1.75 million square feet of data center space on a 100-acre site just south of the Dulles International Airport, in Loudoun County, hinged on Amazon’s and Dominion Power’s ability to find an alternative way to get power to the site without building a power line some local residents (and a county supervisor) were opposed to.

Dominion, the utility monopoly in the region, and Blue Ridge Group, a company acting on Amazon’s behalf, have apparently managed to come up with a solution Loudoun County supervisors found satisfactory. The Board of Supervisors voted to greenlight the project this week, Loudoun Times reported.

Dulles Supervisor Matt Letourneau, who last month asked to delay the vote until he saw plans for alternative power routes, was absent from the vote, according to the news report.

AWS already operates more than 50 data centers in Northern Virginia, home to the world’s largest concentration of data centers. Much of its computing capacity in the region sits inside buildings the company leases from Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT).

Related:Virginia Finds Data Center Tax Breaks a Good Deal: Report

The latest project appears to be Amazon’s own development. The company that bought the land parcel late last year was listed as an Amazon subsidiary called Amazon Data Services.

COPT also has been building more facilities to host AWS infrastructure. Vadata, another AWS data center subsidiary, was occupying 3.1 million square feet of space within COPT’s buildings in Northern Virginia as of the first half of last year, when the developer’s CEO said his company had contracted to build another seven data center “shells” for the cloud platform over the following 24 months.

Earlier this week a real estate unit of the private equity investor Blackstone Group said it would buy a 90 percent interest in the real estate for eight of COPT’s data centers in Northern Virginia, totaling 1.3 million square feet, for about $300 million.

“We view this as a proxy bet on enormous growth of internet and data,” Tyler Henritze, head of Americas acquisitions for Blackstone Real Estate, told Bloomberg in an interview about the joint-venture deal with COPT.

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