Data center project proposed for 120-acre site in Powhatan County

powhatan data center 1

Province Group is seeking a rezoning to allow the construction of a data center campus on 120 acres on the Powhatan-Chesterfield line. (Courtesy Powhatan County)

A large assemblage in Powhatan once eyed for a mixed-use project is now being pitched as the county’s first data center campus.

California-based developer Province Group is seeking zoning approval for a 1.5 million-square-foot data center project on 120 acres on the Powhatan-Chesterfield line.

The project site consists of three parcels, one of them being 1318 Page Road. The project would rise near Anderson Highway’s intersection with Page Road. Province has the properties under contract.

The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to vote June 4 on whether to recommend approval of the project, which is expected to feature data center facilities spread across three buildings.

The county’s Board of Supervisors will provide a final verdict at a future meeting.

The project applicant is LC West LLC, an entity that’s tied to Province Group. The developer didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday.

The developer wants to rezone the project site to light industrial from the current agricultural designation. The project site is considered an economic opportunity zone within Powhatan’s 2021 countywide future land use plan.

The firm has also requested a conditional use permit to allow the data center’s structures to exceed a 45-foot height ceiling. If approved, buildings would be able to rise to 75 feet. About 24 acres, or 20% of the site, would be dedicated open space, including about 9 acres of buffers, easements and conservation area, according to the rezoning application.

Richmond attorney Jeff Geiger of Hirschler is representing the applicant in the zoning process.

S.L. Nusbaum’s Andrew Thacker and Sarah Sadler are representing Province in the pending land deal.

The pending data center isn’t the first development proposal for the property, which is near Westchester Commons and owned by New County Line Farm LLC, an entity tied to Harold and Christina Ellis.

Local firm East West pitched a 250-home project with commercial space for the same site in 2019. That project was ultimately rejected by the Board of Supervisors.

Province was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Newport Beach, California. The company’s website states the firm has developed, renovated, acquired or entitled more than 75 projects with a combined value of more than $850 million.

The company has developed commercial and residential projects in its home state as well as in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Washington and Hawaii, per its website. It would appear that the proposed Powhatan project would be the company’s first development in the Richmond region.

The Powhatan development would be one of several proposed data center projects across the region. The Hanover Board of Supervisors recently approved a rezoning needed for the creation of a data center development on 1,200 acres near Ashland. Data center company Chirisa is planning new facilities at Meadowville Technology Park in Chesterfield.

powhatan data center 1

Province Group is seeking a rezoning to allow the construction of a data center campus on 120 acres on the Powhatan-Chesterfield line. (Courtesy Powhatan County)

A large assemblage in Powhatan once eyed for a mixed-use project is now being pitched as the county’s first data center campus.

California-based developer Province Group is seeking zoning approval for a 1.5 million-square-foot data center project on 120 acres on the Powhatan-Chesterfield line.

The project site consists of three parcels, one of them being 1318 Page Road. The project would rise near Anderson Highway’s intersection with Page Road. Province has the properties under contract.

The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to vote June 4 on whether to recommend approval of the project, which is expected to feature data center facilities spread across three buildings.

The county’s Board of Supervisors will provide a final verdict at a future meeting.

The project applicant is LC West LLC, an entity that’s tied to Province Group. The developer didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday.

The developer wants to rezone the project site to light industrial from the current agricultural designation. The project site is considered an economic opportunity zone within Powhatan’s 2021 countywide future land use plan.

The firm has also requested a conditional use permit to allow the data center’s structures to exceed a 45-foot height ceiling. If approved, buildings would be able to rise to 75 feet. About 24 acres, or 20% of the site, would be dedicated open space, including about 9 acres of buffers, easements and conservation area, according to the rezoning application.

Richmond attorney Jeff Geiger of Hirschler is representing the applicant in the zoning process.

S.L. Nusbaum’s Andrew Thacker and Sarah Sadler are representing Province in the pending land deal.

The pending data center isn’t the first development proposal for the property, which is near Westchester Commons and owned by New County Line Farm LLC, an entity tied to Harold and Christina Ellis.

Local firm East West pitched a 250-home project with commercial space for the same site in 2019. That project was ultimately rejected by the Board of Supervisors.

Province was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Newport Beach, California. The company’s website states the firm has developed, renovated, acquired or entitled more than 75 projects with a combined value of more than $850 million.

The company has developed commercial and residential projects in its home state as well as in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Washington and Hawaii, per its website. It would appear that the proposed Powhatan project would be the company’s first development in the Richmond region.

The Powhatan development would be one of several proposed data center projects across the region. The Hanover Board of Supervisors recently approved a rezoning needed for the creation of a data center development on 1,200 acres near Ashland. Data center company Chirisa is planning new facilities at Meadowville Technology Park in Chesterfield.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
2 months ago

Powhatan County has been looking for an economic development niche for decades. The two significant geographic features in its tool box are its access to two fresh water rivers, though neither is navigable, and plenty of beautiful rolling land. Perhaps some limited development of data centers near Route 60 could be its catalyst. I have to admit that I’ve always appreciated the county for what it is, but some change close to Chesterfield is inevitable. Data centers are rarely nice looking buildings, ala garage parking lots for apartments, so I hope they are well screened,

Michael Kane
Michael Kane
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Agreed, Bruce.
Its too bad its not going to stay rural; although that’s a loose term nowadays there with all the TRAFFIC- brutal for two main roads….

Frank Wood
Frank Wood
2 months ago
Reply to  Michael Kane

Page Road is exceptionally bad – it’s why the Board killed the Residential Development proposed. I would be equally interested in the electrical side of the equation; I’m not sure whether this area is serviced by Southside Electric (Co-op) or Dominion but there has been much written about how much electricity demand Data Centers require.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank Wood

I’m sure it will be a problem that can and will be solved.

Even if it means building some subsidized solar farms, which the country will also like because, like the data centers, such farms are rather non disruptive and very taxable.

Frank Wood
Frank Wood
2 months ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

No, the County has had their fill of Solar “Farms”, and they would be completely incompatible with the amount of demand 24/7 these data centers require.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank Wood

Is that true? The government or the neighbors?

And, yes, there IS a problem having these things be dependent on solar — which is something that many lied-to citizens are finally starting to figure out — but that does not mean that they don’t comingle solar farms with data centers and then brag about it anyway.

Michelle Stinnett
Michelle Stinnett
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Wood

Dominion has transmission lines on this property. Water is a huge concern!!!!!!

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
2 months ago
Reply to  Michael Kane

What aggravates me about Powhatan is they have done really very little to update or fix the local farm roads and a lot of the roads look frozen in time despite them building homes left and right. Also a lot of the home are built on ten acre lots which spreads out the sprawl and aggravates the roads. In that a lot of the roads lack turn lanes or shoulders or are loaded with tons of blind spots.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

I agree, but such things as Data Centers DO tend to be erected behind a wall of trees from what I have seen and one of the main reasons why munis DROOL over them is that there is very little traffic to them, so the main minus for the neighborhood for a big, factory-like building is not there, but the equipment is all very lucrative to tax. It is the Holy Grail, the Unicorn of ruralish development. Unlike a lot of other places, the lure of JOBS is not as strong if it means disruption and even road expansion for… Read more »

Brian Glass
Brian Glass
2 months ago

The big question is where will the needed water and redundant electricity come from?
When I was on the Economic Development Authority Board, in Henrico, we had to make sure that White Oak had it for Facebook’s data centers.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
2 months ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

I think with the newer designs water is not really an issue. However, when they are designed to use less water they typically use more power. So, it is a trade off.

Gerry Langfitt
Gerry Langfitt
2 months ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

There is an article I read the other day about the largest data center in the world. It is right here in Virginia. It has 300 buildings and each uses 5 million gallons of water a day. If the Powhatan center even uses less, it will still be a burden on the water table most of us live on. They will use a lot of water to cool their units. And, using more electricity means more heat to get rid of. Another thing to think about, the water used is not recyclable as it is gone through evaporation and not… Read more »

Michelle Stinnett
Michelle Stinnett
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

Ever notice how water consumption is not a required reporting variable because they do not want the attention on the impact of sucking the earth dry. We can’t make more water!

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
2 months ago

I bet that this thing will fail the planning commission in that what will happen at the meeting is that it is not considered rural. Also last week Powhatan rejected a solar farm. But what I would really like to see if this data center does produce revenue then 80% of it should go to fixing Page Road in that Page Road will cost at least 12 to 14 million dollars to improve to modern standards. A part of me wishes Powhatan County should call up the old developer and ask them to come back. In that with this data… Read more »

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
2 months ago

I did go to the public meeting and it looks like the builder of the data center said it will cost 1.5 to 2.5 billion to build and will bring in ten million dollars a year in new tax revenue. Also based what the planning commissioners said it looks like it could lead to at least 10% to 20% of Powhatan County’s budget coming from it. But this means there there is no financial reason why Powhatan County can’t fix Page Road and several other roads in the county. In that if the County put 5 to 6 million of… Read more »

Michelle Stinnett
Michelle Stinnett
1 month ago

And the tax burden is on the citizens. Just like solar. People of Powhatan do not want this, or solar to poison our well water. Look at the data. The BOS sees dollar signs but it’s not anywhere near their homes. If they want it so bad they should put it in their own backyards. No road improvements. Only r cuts on the major road in Powhatan. 4 new proposed ones on the main congested road in & out of town. A project this size is like putting a city the size of downtown Richmond in the middle of a… Read more »

Karen Notsworthy
Karen Notsworthy
2 months ago

Has anyone looked in to the amount of constant noise these data centers produce? They may camouflage with trees but trees can’t hide 75 foot buildings or very loud constant hums. Check it out.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
2 months ago

Interesting. I’ve never actually been near a data center, so maybe I will check it out some time.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
2 months ago

The noise and roaring of traffic on Route 60 will cover whatever noise it makes in that it’s not uncommon for me to hear route 60 make a load roaring sound on it even though I’m a half a mile away from it.

Computers are pretty quite things and even fans can’t make up the noise of the roaring noise and the shaking 40,000 cars a day make on Route 60.

Michelle Stinnett
Michelle Stinnett
1 month ago

It can be heard 2 miles out or more