Vantage Data Centers Has Been Having a Billion Dollar Moment, Much of It In Quincy, WA

Oct. 26, 2023
On the heels of significant new, green financing, DigitalBridge-led Vantage Data Centers celebrated the delivery of WA13 as the third and final facility in its $1 billion Quincy, Washington campus, known as WA1.

Vantage Data Centers has been having a moment this fall, capped off last week with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with local officials celebrating the delivery of WA13 as the third and final facility in its $1 billion Quincy, Washington campus, known as WA1.

The freshly opened WA13 data center adds 64 MW of IT capacity and 530,000 SF to the 68-acre hyperscale campus, which now supports 89 MW across nearly 775,000 SF and three facilities.

Vantage noted that WA13 supports a number of green features in accordance with the company’s “sustainable by design” principles.

The data center employs a closed loop air cooled chiller system, as well as Tier 4 rated generators to reduce particulate and nitric oxide (NO) emissions.

Denver-based Vantage added that since the start of construction in late 2022, the WA13 project team completed more than 828,000 working hours on the site, with zero lost time incidents.

Key design and construction partners for the project included Corgan Architects and DPR Construction.

“Since we entered the Quincy market in 2011, Vantage has invested more than $1 billion in the development of this campus and directly contributed to the employment of local residents, further boosting the greater Quincy economy,” said Simon Casey, Vice President of Construction, North America at Vantage Data Centers.

As noted by Data Center Dynamics, Vantage Data Centers opened its first Quincy building in 2013.

The company has been an active corporate citizen in the town, working closely with and supporting local organizations such as the Quincy Chamber of Commerce, the Quincy Community Food Bank, Veterans Operation Creation and the Grant County Industrial Alliance.

If Power Is King In Grant County, Fiber Is Aces

The Vantage Data Centers WA1 campus is powered by Washington State's Grant County Public Utility District (GCPUD), which owns and operates two large scale hydroelectric dams that produced an annual average of 1,050 MW of reliable, clean renewable energy. Hydro represents more than 66% of the utility’s power generation mix.

As previously noted by Data Center Frontier's Rich Miller, "Central Washington is notable for its ample supply of cheap, green hydro power served by the Columbia River Basin, which...has some of the cheapest rates available in the United States. The area is also ideal for the use of fresh air in data center cooling systems, which allows facilities to operate without energy-hungry chillers."

As crucial as the town's utility outlook is for data centers, data centers are a crucial component of Quincy’s economy.

According to Grant County, the greater Quincy area's assessed value is projected to exceed $8 billion in 2024, with more than half of that figure coming from the data center sector.

Microsoft was the first data center to take root in Quincy, where the cloud giant has recently been very active in furthering its sustainable construction efforts. Sabey Data Centers, along with H5 Data Centers and CyrusOne, all also inhabit the Quincy cloud cluster, among others including NTT and Yahoo.

The tax revenue generated by Vantage and the area's other data center providers helps to fund local institutions, such as a new modern hospital complex, currently being built, and a state-of-the-art high school facility, constructed in 2019.

The data center industry also creates thousands of high-paying, long-term jobs near Quincy, which provides economic diversity and stability to rural communities in the State of Washington.

The Grant County Economic Development Council estimates that for every two people hired by a data center provider, approximately five additional jobs are created.

Within driving distance of Pangborn Memorial Airport and its daily passenger service, Quincy is known for the area’s geological stability and flat land contour, ideal for data center development, which the Washington Legislature has further incentivized by waiving certain statewide sales taxes.

And as highlighted by October 25 reporting from the Columbia Basin Herald, the area's notable advantages in the area of fiber-optic connectivity were sealed by GCPUD commissioners more than two decades ago.

That was when the state legislature authorized local PUDs to provide wholesale fiber services - an opportunity which Grant County officials jumped on in 2000.

"Vantage appreciates the work of our local legislators, including Senator Judy Warnick, Representative Tom Dent and Representative Alex Ybarra, along with the Port of Quincy and the Grant County Economic Development Council, for their support of the rural data center tax incentive which has helped to promote the development and construction of data centers in rural areas of Washington State such as Quincy," said Vantage's North American Construction VP Casey.

He added, "We are also grateful for GCPUD’s partnership in powering our data centers and appreciate the utility’s ongoing efforts to improve transmission infrastructure, capacity and reliability in Quincy and elsewhere in Grant County. We look forward to a continued, productive partnership with GCPUD as we grow together in the region, as well as expanding our community partnerships to enable a bright future for residents.”

Green Financing for NA, EMEA Expansions and More 

The WA13 ribbon-cutting ceremony in Quincy was icing on the cake of Vantage Data Centers' announcement earlier this month of significant new financing for its North American data center platform.

On October 5, the company announced it had raised USD$1.35 billion in securitized notes, in the company’s largest debt transaction to date and its fourth green financing.

The company said proceeds from the new transaction are primarily being used to refinance existing financings in place for three data centers on Vantage Data Centers' flagship Northern Virginia campus, and five data centers in the province of Quebec, Canada, as well as to fund general corporate needs.

Commercial real estate information watchdog CoStar reckoned that Vantage Data Centers' raising $1.35 billion through a securitized offering of tenant lease payments "may be the largest bond deal this year backing this fast-growing property type."

"With this major securitization, data centers have now raised $7.3 billion in 12 offerings [this year] in what has been a rare active segment of the commercial real estate bond market," wrote Mark Heschmeyer of CoStar News.

Heschmeyer added that the Vantage transaction "comes amid high interest in infrastructure that can support artificial intelligence and other advanced digital capabilities."

As noted by DCF this January, Vantage Data Centers opened a record 13 new data centers in 2022, in a continued global expansion spree that included new campuses in Montreal, Berlin, Frankfurt and South Africa.

Rapid global growth has been the theme for Vantage since 2017, when the company was acquired by DigitalBridge, which was seeking a platform to target the wholesale data center market to complement DataBank, its portfolio company for colocation and edge computing.

Since becoming part of DigitalBridge, Vantage has been boosted by billions of dollars in investment, enabling it to both build and buy data centers, and to grow its data center network.

Deutsche Bank Securities acted as Sole Structuring Advisor for Vantage Data Centers in the $1.35 billion transaction.

In addition to Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale, Truist Securities and Wells Fargo Securities acted as Joint Active Bookrunning Managers on the transaction, which achieved a Green Bond designation via a Second-Party Opinion (SPO) from Morningstar Sustainalytics in September 2023.

The new transaction is Vantage’s ninth securitization financing since 2018, and its fourth green financing, bringing the company's total green loan financings to more than $2 billion.

Sharif Metwalli, Vantage’s chief financial officer, said, “This financing provides an even stronger financial position for our North American platform and enables us to continue scaling the business to meet customer demand in an environmentally friendly way. We appreciate the ongoing support and partnership from our lead investor, DigitalBridge, and their confidence in us to grow the business to not only meet our customers’ IT requirements but also to align with our customers’ sustainability goals.”

Meanwhile also in September, Vantage Data Centers announced that AustralianSuper, Australia’s largest pension fund, would invest €1.5 billion to acquire a significant minority stake in Vantage’s EMEA business, joining DigitalBridge as a key shareholder.

Jon Mauck, Senior Managing Director at DigitalBridge who leads DigitalBridge’s data center investment strategy, commented, “We are delighted to welcome AustralianSuper as an investor to EMEA’s premier data center platform. Vantage, led by an experienced management team, has a track record of success and is aligned with the long-term growth of cloud demand and the need for AI infrastructure."

The AustralianSuper investment will accelerate Vantage’s ability to scale its footprint across the EMEA region to support customer demand.

Mauck added, "Digital infrastructure continues to demonstrate its resilience as an asset class, and we look forward to building on our track record as we become a partner of choice to Australian investors seeking to increase their exposure to high-quality digital infrastructure investments.”

Last but not least, also in September, as previously reported at DCF, Vantage Data Centers announced that it will expand the use of renewable, diesel-like hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) for its generators.

Initially deployed as a pilot at the company's Cardiff, Wales campus in 2022, the company stated that HVO will now be used in several of its largest markets in North America, including Santa Clara, and EMEA.

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About the Author

Matt Vincent

A B2B technology journalist and editor with more than two decades of experience, Matt Vincent is Editor in Chief of Data Center Frontier.

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