Rich Miller, Data Center Frontier: “New Money Loves Ashburn”
by Josh Anderson
DULLES, VA – CapRE takes pride in its many industry partners, who are similarly dedicated to driving the national conversation in the data center arena. And CapRE’s recent 2019 Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Forecast East was the perfect venue to capitalize on one such partnership. That’s why CapRE invited Rich Miller, Founder & Editor of Data Center Frontier to provide brief remarks at the summit, dubbed DCF Northern Virginia Data Center Market Special Report. Below is a snippet of that session.
“The technologies that are being deployed in the facilities that surround us here in Ashburn are making all kinds of new things possible in business,” began Miller, kicking off with a bang. “We are seeing all kinds of disruptions from software and logistics working together to really change marketplaces and the world of business. There is also a lot of changes happening within the data center industry itself. We’re seeing a process of maturity and industrialization in a way. And increasingly sophisticated customers. Almost all of that happens first here in Northern Virginia.
“That’s one of the thing I want to talk about this morning – the impact of Northern Virginia and the Ashburn market, as well as, now, the Prince William County market,” he continued. “It’s fallen far beyond the borders of the county or the area. Many of the best practices and innovations that happen here end up making their way into other markets around the country and around the world.”
Next, Miller presented a slide with an aerial view of data center alley. “One of the reasons that I focus on Ashburn is that at Data Center Frontier, what we’re trying to do is to look down the pike at some of the technologies that are coming,” he explained. “Sami [Badri, Credit Suisse] looked at 5G [earlier today]. There are many other new technologies that are impacting the data center industry and the demand that we see. And it all is sort of converging right here. So we see Northern Virginia as a great prism to look through at all of the great things that are happening in the larger data center industry.”
“We recently completed a market report on the Northern Virginia market,” shared Miller, intimating that he brought copies to share with attendees. “We work together with Data Center Hawk – some of you may know David Liggitt and some of his work. This came out in November, but we dig into some of the trends that we see moving the market, both in terms of the geography locally, and where we do see folks coming up with all of this land, as well as so many of the things that we think will be shaping the market in the coming years.”
At that point, Miller shared one such trend. “One of the trends that’s been going on and that we’ve been seeing is new money,” he shared. “We’re seeing different kinds of investors with a large investment interest in the data center industry. And that shapes some of the development of markets, particularly in terms of geography. Some of these investors are what’s been known as infrastructure funds – they have deep pockets, and perhaps longer time horizons, and can therefore think a little bit differently about some of their strategies. These have been significant players in new development here in Ashburn, planning new capacity. New money loves Ashburn. Everybody wants to deploy here.”
He then pointed to four examples. “The Vantage Data Center Campus getting under way and backed by Digital Bridge, which came in and acquired them last year – they’ve got 140 megawatts,” he listed. “Cologix will soon have a 100 megawatt data center campus at the site of the Christian Fellowship Church, which is familiar to many of you. Cologix is backed by StonePeak Infrastructure. And AlignedEnergy, backed by Macquarie. Another example of new kinds of investors is EdgeCore being backed by GIC, which is the sovereign wealth fund for the country of Singapore.”
“Between these four projects, there is a total capacity planned of about 600 megawatts of data center space,” summed up Miller. “This will be one of the places where we will see some of the new money driving the capacity and all of them are private players.”