Aligned has acquired property in Salt Lake City for a build-to-suit data center project for a customer, the company said today. Aligned expects to complete the “multiple megawatt” facility by December, with a six-month construction schedule.
The SLC-04 project continues the strong growth for Aligned in Salt Lake City, which is quickly emerging as a growth market for data center development. Aligned has two buildings on its Salt Lake City campus, with plans for a third, and now the build-to-suit project as well.
“Our latest Salt Lake data center is an example of Aligned’s ability to provide agile Build-to-Scale solutions focused on driving optionality, reducing added cost and risk, and enabling industry-leading construction timelines and quality,” said Andrew Schaap, CEO of Aligned.
Aligned is among the developers specializing in the build-to-suit data center market as an extension of their multi-tenant “wholesale” business. Wholesale data center providers typically design large buildings with multiple data halls that can be leased to multiple customers. In the build-to-suit model, large customers pre-lease entire buildings, creating a dedicated facility that can be customized to the tenant’s requirements. The build-to-suit trend allows developers to reduce their risk, as the pre-leasing makes projects easier to finance.
Another key benefit is building deeper relationships with large customers. Aligned’s Build-to-Scale program (which Schaap outlined in a DCF Voices of the Industry column last year) enables it to meet specific customer goals on sustainability and efficiency. In Salt Lake City, that includes a design that addresses concerns about data center water use in the midst of a historic drought in the Western U.S.
“In addition to speed and scale, the development also satisfies our customer’s requirement for water conservation, while still delivering industry-leading Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE),” said Schaap. “Combined with our ultra-efficient Delta3 cooling technology, Utah’s cold desert climate enables us to deliver a waterless data center solution.”
The climate in Utah that supports using fresh air for cooling for about 75 to 80 percent of the year, which reduces cooling costs. But weather isn’t the only factor attracting data center projects to the Salt Lake City region, which sits on long-haul fiber routes, and has affordable power. Salt Lake City’s cost profile has been boosted by economic incentives that opened sales tax abatements on data center equipment to tenants of colocation space.
Salt Lake City now has several major data center campuses, including single-tenant sites for Facebook, eBay and the National Security Agency, as well as a multi-tenant facilities for DataBank, Flexential and newcomer Novva Data Centers.
But no one is building bigger than Aligned, which earlier this year opened its second data center on its Salt Lake Campus, a 240,000 square foot, 48-megawatt facility that can be expanded to 60 megawatts (MWs).
Large, expandable buildings provide customers with the flexibility to add new capacity in large chunks. In a period of rapid growth for Internet services, hyperscale operators are seeking runway to accommodate accelerated growth that can be unpredictable. This need was reinforced during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, as demand for cloud services surged rapidly as users shifted activity online during government-imposed lockdowns.
Aligned operates data center campuses in Dallas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Ashburn, Virginia. The company recently lined up $250 million in additional expansion capital, expanding its sustainability-linked senior credit line to $1.25 billion.
Each Aligned data hall includes a cooling wall featuring vertical stacks of its Delta Cube cooling units, which are about 4 feet wide and house multiple fan coils, allowing them to cool workloads of up to 50 kW per cabinet. The wall also contains space that allows for additional rows of Delta Cube units to be installed, providing additional capacity within the data hall.