There’s another new player in Data Center Alley. Chirisa Investments has acquired a piece of prime real estate in Ashburn, Virginia where it plans to build a 30-megawatt data center. The Irish company has bought a property at the intersection of Beaumeade Circle and Loudoun County Parkway, one of the most strategic locations in Northern Virginia, which is the world’s largest and most active data center market.
Chirisa owns 365 Data Centers and Digital Fortress, two brands that have focused primarily on operating smaller “retail” colocation data centers in secondary markets. With its Ashburn project, Chirisa is super-sizing its facilities and its ambitions in the United States. The company says the new facility at 21445 Beaumeade Circle will be the “first of many” it will deploy in a series of large-scale wholesale campuses for corporate clients under the Chirisa Tech Centers brand.
“We are massively excited to commence our rollout of our Chirisa next-generation wholesale facilities and larger data center campus at the heart of the Internet in Ashburn VA,” said Colm Piercy, CEO of Chirisa Investments. “I and our team look forward to announcing similar deployments in other strategic locations across the US, Canada, Europe, and other regions – and in so doing endeavouring to service the insatiable demand for quality data centers from our clients.”
The Loudoun Land Grab Continues
Chirisa is the latest in a series of new companies to enter the Ashburn market, hoping to capitalize on the extraordinary demand for data center space. Northern Virginia has become Cloud Central, and the appetite for capacity has prompted a land grab in which data center developers are buying up properties, often at premium prices. Much of the activity is focused on Loudoun County, but there has also been expansion activity in Prince William County and in Reston in Fairfax County.
The Chirisa deal is a good example, as the company acquired 21445 Beaumeade in an off-market transaction. The site is next door to data centers for Equinix and RagingWire, and immediately adjacent to major new campuses for Equinix and Amazon Web Services. It also lies in close proximity to the original Equinix Ashburn campus, which is the center of connectivity in America’s most wired neighborhood. The site houses a 79,000 square foot building, which housed the operations of Intelligent Decisions, a technology contractor for the federal government.
Northern Virginia is already the world’s largest data center market, and has seen new players entering the market in recent months, along with construction and expansion announcements from existing players. Developers in Northern Virginia leased a record 115 megawatts of data center space in 2017, topping the 113 megawatts (MWs) absorbed in 2016.
CloudHQ, Iron Mountain and Central Colo entered the Northern Virginia market in 2017, and Vantage Data Centers, Compass Datacenters and QTS Data Centers have all jumped into the market with large new campuses scheduled to open in 2018 and 2019. The incumbents are also adding capacity. Digital Realty is creating an enormous new campus, while RagingWire, CoreSite, Sabey Data Centers, Equinix and CyrusOne are all adding new capacity.
Chirisa Tech Centers Targets Wholesale Deals
The Virginia facility marks the rollout of the Chirisa Tech Centers brand, which will be the wholesale arm of the company’s data center business. Designs are being finalized for a $225 million first phase development of a 280,000 square foot, 30 megawatt data center, according to Chirisa, which said it is already actively engaged with prospective clients seeking “tailored solutions” at the site, a prime location for a build-to-suit project for a single tenant.
Chirisa has a long history of data center development in Europe, where its projects include the Dataplex B10 hyperscale data center facility in Dublin. Its U.S. operations include 365 Data Centers, which operates in 10 markets across the Eastern US, Host.net and Interconnect Miami in Florida, and Digital Fortress in Seattle. All those properties were acquired in an acquisition splurge in 2017.
The company says it is already targeting projects in Dublin, Alburquerque, New Mexico and Quincy, Washington.
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Expect more acquisitions ahead, as Chirisa said the Ashburn deal was “the first acquisition in its rollout of larger strategically-positioned data center campus sites in the US, Canada, and other regions.” Chirisa says it is also seeking sale-leaseback deals to acquire facilities from enterprise companies that no longer need to own their data center infrastructure.