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Ashburn Data Center Insiders Evaluate Virginia Beach: A Superior or Sub-Standard “Suburb” of Ashburn?

 
Oct 10, 2017
by Josh Anderson
Allen Tucker, JLL

ASHBURN, VA – Anyone in the data center industry knows that Ashburn is more or less aware that the “Capital” of the internet. But just like any Capital city, there’s bound to be some suburbs as people look for opportunities near all the action but far enough out to save on cost, or take advantage of some other benefit of being outside the city center. Right now, perhaps the most buzzworthy ‘burb is Virginia Beach (check out some recent articles we’ve written on it), thanks to some new sub-sea cables on the horizon. Below are some thoughts from two data center insiders on the potential for Virginia Beach to be an outpost of Ashburn closer to the water.

Allen Tucker, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle, related the growth to some other markets on the East coast. “We all know that there is some congestion in New York and New Jersey,” he began. “I’m not talking about pedestrians or vehicle traffic. I’m talking about IP traffic. Sub-seas give us another option of routing traffic. These aren’t like the sub-sea cables in New York, they don’t have the bandwidth or capacity.”

And the key to understanding this, according to Tucker, is the answer to the timeless question, what is the Edge? “We’re not talking about routers and Edge kind of technology from that,” he responded. “But the Edge in my world, what it stands for is that you have a lack of power, you have a lack of supply or you have a lack of demand, you have a lack of connectivity. So the question is how do you enable that? Well I would add that believe it or not, what is the #1 Edge market in the United States? It’s in Loudoun County. The main east-west was in Tyson’s Corner.”

“When AOL moved out here, everyone said they were going to the Edge. Or, the birth,” he recalled. “And there was no neutral pairing point. Just like all major Edge markets. I think that Hunter Newby did a great job describing this one time. It’s all built upon a “sea of.” Well, guess who followed after AOL. Equinix. They were that neutral pairing point. That’s the kind of confluence we’re looking for to happen. The next thing is, can you build upon that?”

Next up we heard from a real estate professional — Robert W. Walters, Avison Young. “The only other thing I’ll add, and I agree with Allen’s comments, but to ring it back to Ashburn, is that we’re seeing clients looking for land opportunities in Stafford County, to try to pick some of that demand up along the way,” he shared. “So we’ll see how that goes. The other piece, in light of some of the recent weather that we’ve had down in Florida and Houston, is that Virginia Beach is in a danger zone. Does that affect ultimately the demand and the infrastructure that could ultimately be built here? It’ll be interesting to see.”

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