State of the North American Data Center Industry: Canada Moving In, Microsoft Heating Up, and Concentrated Expansion

CHICAGO, Illinois – The data center industry in North America is heating up exponentially – but mostly thanks to a few key locales and players. Just ask Jim Kerrigan, Managing Principal & Founding Member, North American Data Centers, who provided CAPRE with some key trends to illustrate this often-opaque industry: During 2016, Chicago, Dallas & Northern Virginia (Ashburn and Manassas) accounted for 77% of the data center leasing activity (only accounting for those who leased over 2 megawatts) Hyperscale cloud leasing MTDC drove a 25% increase in leasing activity from2015 to 2016 – this was a historical high Large cloud providers shifting from speculative leasing to pre-leasing during the past 15 months have been a welcome occurrence in the overall MTDC market And what about emerging markets? Kerrigan points to Canada, specifically Toronto as being the most intriguing. “New projects in Quebec & Toronto will finally create MTDC supply in Canada,” he says. “In the U.S. we have 25 million square feet of MTDC. In Canada there’s 500,000 square feet. So far all of the activity has been concentrated in Quebec, but Toronto is really trying to compete.” However, other areas are holding their own as well. Chicago did roughly 50 megawatts worth of transactions last year. However, other key activity is happening thanks to specific players: Microsoft was a game-changer in 2016. They leased more multi-tenant data center (MTDC) space in 2016 in the U.S. than was leased by…