Two data centers proposed for Henrico
One facility could span 2.5 million square feet in White Oak tech park
Data centers could become a bigger part of Henrico County’s business landscape.
One center is planned for the White Oak Technology Park in eastern Henrico and could cover 2.5 million square feet across four buildings.
Another operator — Peak 10— wants to build a 72,500-square-foot data center off Villa Park Drive in northern Henrico. Peak 10 already operates a 37,000-square-foot data center on Park Central Drive, about 2.5 miles away.
The Henrico Planning Com- mission on Thursday approved a plan of development for the White Oak data center, which is referred to in planning documents only by the code name “Project Echo.”
The commission is slated to consider a plan of development for the Peak 10 proposal at Sept. 27 its meeting.
Data centers store and process vast amounts of digital information.
The planning documents do not indicate who the user of the facility would be for Project Echo. The developer is listed as Scout Development LLC and the project engineer is Northern Virginia-based Christopher Consultants.
Henrico’s Economic Development Authority filed the application for Project Echo last month. Gary McLaren, executive direc- tor of the Henrico Economic Development Authority, said Thursday that he is not at liberty to discuss details of the project.
The data center would be built on a 328-acre site near Technology Boulevard and Portugee Road, according to the planning documents.
It would be built in phases, with the first phase being a 1 million-square-foot data center. Future phases would include three buildings totaling 1.5 million square feet.
The occupant would have 100 employees and contractors in the first phase and about 240 at full build out, a planning staff member said during a presentation of the project’s plans.
The developer also sought a special exception authorizing the buildings up to 100 feet in height, double a 50-foot zoning limit.
Two nearby residents opposed granting an exemption to allow the building heights.
White Oak Technology Park is home to another large data center, a 1.3 million-square-foot center operated by QTS, which acquired the former Qimonda computer chip plant in 2010 and turned it into a data center.
Henrico County has taken steps this year to attract other data centers by dramatically reducing its tax rate on computers and equipment related to data centers.
In April, the Board of Supervisors cut the tax rate by 87 percent — from $3.50 per $100 of assessed value to just 40 cents per $100. The new rate went into effect July 1.