Data center operator expanding in White Oak by 710,000 square feet

white oak tech park

QTS Data Centers will construct two more buildings in Sandston’s White Oak Technology Park. (BizSense file photo by J. Elias O’Neal)

More sprawling data centers soon may be rolling into a Henrico County technology park.

A plan of development was filed last week by an entity tied to QTS Data Centers for new two single-story data center buildings totaling 710,500 square feet on county-owned land in Sandston’s White Oak Technology Park, near Interstates 64 and 295.

Dubbed in planning documents as “Project Isaac,” the development is being fast-tracked through the Henrico planning department.

The development would rise on about 73 acres fronting Portugee Road, with 50-foot buffers between QTS’ existing 1.3 million-square-foot facility to the north and the Facebook data center campus that’s under construction east of the site.

An interior rendering highlights about 17,000 square feet of office space in each of the buildings, with the remaining dedicated to several data halls – large open spaces that house a variety of computer server storage and network systems.

A tenant, or multiple users, for the facility were not disclosed in the planning documents. Neither a timeline for construction nor an investment estimate for the project was available.

Kevin Snead, QTS Richmond site director, did not immediately respond to an email and call for comment Tuesday afternoon. A call to Toney Hall, Henrico County Economic Development Authority deputy director, was not returned.

QTS is a publicly traded data center operator that owns and maintains several facilities across North America and Europe, and one in Hong Kong.

The company’s White Oak Technology campus at 6000 Technology Blvd. caters to federal government entities, according to its website. The complex sits on 210 acres and has the capacity to expand by up to 1.4 million square feet.

In an interview last month with “Henrico Now,” a newsletter compiled by the Henrico County EDA, Snead said the county has been “attracting increasing interest as a connectivity hub” because of its proximity to Northern Virginia’s data center market, and its connection with the Virginia Beach Cable Landing Station – where the Telxius cables connecting data centers in South America and Europe come ashore.

Tax reduction helped

Snead added the county’s decision in 2017 to slash property taxes for data centers by nearly 90 percent – from $3.50 per $100 of assessed value to 40 cents per $100 of assessed value – also is increasing data center prospects.

Plans for QTS’ expansion in metro Richmond come as the firm makes sizable gains in Northern Virginia – one of the top data center hubs in the world.

QTS completed a three-story, 180,000-square-foot data center in October 2018 in Loudoun County’s Ashburn area. The firm also has plans for another data center facility on 30 acres it owns in that vicinity, along with plans for another facility on 61 acres it acquired in Manassas.

That growth appears to be funneling southward, as White Oak continues to capture the attention of several data center facilities – the biggest being Facebook.

Aerial shot of the Facebook data center. (BizSense file photo courtesy Henrico County)

With 1 million square feet already under construction, the social media giant announced last fall plans for an additional three new buildings in White Oak – bringing its total to five structures with a combined 2.4 million square feet.

With QTS’ plans for a new complex underway, White Oak Technology Park soon will have more than 4.4 million square feet of data center space – the highest concentration of such space in metro Richmond.

Aside from QTS and Facebook, White Oak already is home to Hewlett Packard, Lumber Liquidators and Bank of America.

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Brian Glass
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It’s not the property tax that was “slashed.” It was the machinery and tools tax ! That’s one of the reasons that Facebook is building at White Oak.

The decision was a game changer for Henrico County !

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