Aligned Data Centers will expand its presence in Northern Virginia with a four-story data center on a new campus in Sterling, the company said today. The 72-megawatt data center will be a build-to-suit project for a hyperscale customer, and is expected to come online in Fall 2023.
The facility will be Aligned’s third data center in Northern Virginia since it entered the market in 2019. The Sterling campus is a 10-acre site planned for two buildings, and builds on the company’s two large data centers at Quantum Park in Ashburn’s Data Center Alley. Aligned will also develop space at the Quantum Loophole mega-campus just across the Potomac in Adamstown, Maryland once that project is ready to come online in 2024.
Taken together, these announcements provide Aligned with runway for long-term growth in Northern Virginia, the focal point for digital infrastructure to support the growth of cloud computing. Expansion capacity is a priority these days in Loudoun County, where development properties are scarce and expensive due to the appetite for new data centers.
Moving Fast in a Key Market
“Speed-to-market, scalability and sustainability have long been considered ground zero for hyperscale customers, and Aligned’s unmatched ability to successfully navigate strategic site selection challenges such as power and land constraints, supply chain issues, and energy efficiency and sustainability requirements is critical to meeting these needs,” said Andrew Schaap, CEO of Aligned, in a press announcement.
Aligned’s ability deliver capacity quickly has been a key selling point for large customers. It has demonstrated the ability to move quickly in Northern Virginia, a crucial market where Amazon, Microsoft and Google deploy a significant chunk of their Internet infrastructure.
- In Fall 2019 Aligned completed the first phase of its IAD-01 data center, a 368,755 square foot building that supports 60 megawatts of capacity.
- In 2020 the company announced plans for its 120-megwatt IAD-02, a 513,000 square-foot facility at Quantum Park.
- Earlier this year Aligned signed an agreement to acquire land, power, and water at Quantum Loophole’s massive data center campus in Maryland,
“Our team is laser-focused on eliminating the risks and cost exposures associated with new builds, and with our advanced supply chain methodology and experienced global partners, Aligned can deliver infrastructure anywhere an organization’s business growth demands, providing incrementally scalable data center capacity — aligned with our customers’ designs or ours — in unprecedented timeframes.”
As land banking” by data center developers has pushed land values for data center parcels past $3 million an acre, up from about $500,00 as recently as 2017.
Building Up to Boost Scale
One way to make the most of the available real estate is to go vertical. In recent years, Loudoun County has embraced multi-story data centers, with a number of three-story projects and some four-story data centers in the planning stage.
Aligned will embrace that trend with its 430,000 square foot IAD-03 data center, joining Equinix in building four-story facilities. While vertical data centers are common in some urban markets, Northern Virginia has only recently seen developers focus on three-story buildings.
The expansion comes two months after Aligned Data Centers increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to accelerate its next phase of growth, the company said this week. The additional $1.4 billion in funding provides Aligned with more resources to build data centers for its customers, including hyperscale operators that have set ambitious targets for reducing or eliminating their climate impact.
Aligned builds “smart infrastructure” to solve capacity management challenges through innovation in cooling and the supply chain. Its offering is positioned to appeal to technology-focused customers, especially growing Internet companies.