Data Center Frontier’s Rich Miller on Presenting Data Centers to Communities: Talk About Tax Revenue and Rates

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. After touching on sources of capital for data center development in Northern Virginia as well as predictions for the future, Miller illustrated how the Northern Virignia data center market is the model example for how to communicate the benefits of data centers to communities.

Rich Miller, Data Center Frontier

“One of the things that’s been learned in Loudoun County and is important to export in the future is the role of the data center industry in communities,” began Miller. “As one of the first places that’s seen a huge explosion of cloud growth, the data center industry has experience in working with communities and dealing with problems as they come up, and being good neighbors.”

Miller thinks that’s going to be increasingly important going forward as the region sees data centers in more places, particularly thanks to Edge computing. “Data centers are going to be much more prominent part of the build environment. You’re going to see it baked into the landscape of both urban and suburban areas, and that will create some tensions, as we’ve seen,” he predicted. “And I think Loudoun County is good place to see how that can play out and be done well – that dialogue between the community and the data center community.”

According to Miller, Loudoun County may have hit its stride when it comes to the long, often arduous, process of seeing through a data center construction project. “The data center industry has clarity about where it can build, and it’s built a process that doesn’t involve 100 meetings every time they want to build a new building. and that’s important in understanding predictable growth.”

Equally important is support from the local utility and economic development team. “Everyone who does business here understands the importance of Dominion and of the economic development department, and really trying to streamline the process,” he remarked. “This is something that people need to get diligent about in other markets. as we’ve seen more and more places offer incentives for data centers – I think it’s 30 states now that have them – there’s a much better sense of economic development in terms of streamlining the process to help understand the needs of the industry. There’s still some work to do there. Part of that is being able to talk about the benefits of data centers, to articulate these economic benefits.”

“At the last CAPRE event, down in Leesburg, I saw Buddy Rizer say something about data centers,” recalled Miller. “I’ve heard him talk about Loudoun County and data centers for a long time, but he said that data centers contribute a quarter billion dollars in taxes to Loudoun County’s economic. a quarter of a billion. That’s a big number. It gets folks’ attention. And if you’re trying to get the community to understand, what are the benefits of data centers? What are the trade offs? It’s great to be able to say hey, here’s a number, and here’s what it means for the local tax rate as well. And people love that. If I’m working for the community, that’s important to understand.”

New SquareFor more from Miller 2019 Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Forecast East, check out previous CAPRE Insider Reports covering his earlier remarks: