Land and Expand: Google, Vantage Data Centers, Microsoft

Sept. 8, 2023
Land and Expand is a periodic feature at Data Center Frontier highlighting recent data center developments including new sites, land acquisition and campus expansion news. Today we look at new developments from Google, Vantage Data Centers, and Microsoft.

Land and Expand is a periodic feature at Data Center Frontier highlighting the latest data center development news, including new sites, land acquisition and campus expansions. Here are some of the new and notable developments by major operators about which we’ve been reading lately.

Google

That Google is building a $600 million data center in Mesa, Arizona, previously known as Project Red Hawk, that uses no water in its cooling technology was a hook this week for nationally affiliated local TV news, and rightfully so. A giant data center in the desert that uses only enough water for basic building facilities such as taps and toilets seems to make all the sense in the world (and is also right as rain). As further noted by reporting in the Phoenix Business Journal, "Aided by some incentives from the city of Mesa, Google expects to start building vertically at the site near the beginning of 2024 and be complete by early 2025. The company is also looking to buy other large parcels of land that it can grow into over the years."

$600 million seems to be a key figure for such announcements by Google, as just about a week ago, the company also announced it plans to build a new data center in Red Oak, Texas as part of $600 million overall investment. The Dallas Morning News reported that the hyperscale giant plans on investing $330 million in 2023 and to expand that spending over several years at the site, which will be Google’s second in Texas, along with its data center in Midlothian. Red Oak's director of economic development Lee McCleary said in an email to The Dallas Morning News that the approximately 285,000 SF data center at 156 N. Austin Blvd. will take about two years to complete. Google joins Compass Data Centers and Meta as major data center operators in the Red Oak vicinity. Dallas Fort Worth is on the short list of primary U.S. data center construction markets, as recently noted by commercial real estate industry analysis by Cushman & Wakefield, who, amid reports of record leasing activity, tallied up more than 2.2M SF of data center projects in development in the D-FW area at the end of 2022.

$600 million was also the "magic figure" announced earlier in August for Google's plans for a data center in Lincoln, Nebraska, set for construction on roughly 580 acres near Interstate 80 and North 56th Street, as part of the hyperscaler's newly revealed $1.2 billion investment, adding on to $2.2 billion to date already invested in Nebraska infrastructure by the company. Formerly known as Project Agate, the new project will also touch existing Google data center sites in the state, notably such as in Papillion. Also in August, Google announced it would devote $350 million more in development to its data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, one of its largest facilities, which helps power ubiquitous digital services such as Google Cloud, Workspace, Search and Maps. As further noted by ConstructionDive, this investment tacks on to Google’s $5 billion+ investment in Iowa since breaking ground there in 2007.

Finally, we can't close these bullet points without "at least" mentioning how also in August, Google announced a $1.7 billion investment in three Central Ohio data centers in the municipalities of Columbus, New Albany and Lancaster, on top of the $2 billion the company has already spent on these facilities. As further noted by Ohio's Statehouse News Bureau, Facebook and Amazon have also invested heavily in this region with new data centers; while, in addition, Intel recently started construction the first phase of a $20 billion semiconductor manufacturing facility in the state's Licking County.

Vantage Data Centers

Denver-based Vantage Data Centers has also been on something of a Land and Expand spree lately. Vantage recently revealed it wants to build nearly 1.7 million SF of data center space over three buildings on a new campus in Douglas County, Douglasville, Georgia, according to filings with the state that were first reported by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Douglasville sits approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of the city of Atlanta, and is part of the Atlanta Metro Area. Douglas County also notably contains data centers from Google, Microsoft, Switch and Flexential. Commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield recently ranked the Atlanta area as one of its top 6 U.S. data center markets.

Meanwhile, national commercial real estate news outlet Connect CRE reports today that Vantage Data Centers has purchased two clusters of vacant land totaling 89 acres on the far west side of San Antonio, Texas. Connect CRE notes the 31-acre site in question is located on the other side of Rogers Road, where Microsoft operates three data centers with over 1M SF of space. The report notes that San Antonio's West Side "has become a data hub in part due to its reliable electrical supply, with two transmission lines carrying power from different substations." As cited by Connect CRE, the San Antonio Report noted that if Vantage proceeds with construction, it will be the company’s first data center in Texas, among 11 facilities it operates in North America, along with 11 in Europe, six in Asia, and one apiece in South Africa and Australia.

Finally it must be noted how, in July, Vantage Data Centers and and McCarthy Building Companies announced the topping out of construction for Phase II at Vantage Data Centers’ major new data center project in Goodyear, Arizona. The Phase II expansion of the project, when fully developed, will represent a megascale campus expansion offering hyperscalers and large cloud providers 176 MW of IT capacity across three facilities, totaling more than 1 million square feet. Vantage is investing more than $1.5 billion into the development, which is expected to create approximately 3,000 construction and technology jobs. Phase II of the Vantage Data Centers Goodyear project is scheduled to be operational in the spring of 2024.

Microsoft

Microsoft recently reported on its blog that it is moving ahead with developing a new data center campus in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. The company said it is currently focusing on developing the southern half of the site, south of the existing transmission lines and Lamparek Creek. The northern half of the site is planned for use as a construction laydown area and is a future area for data center development.

Microsoft in July said it had received permits to progress into construction and that its contractor partner Walsh Construction would soon begin site preparation and grading, which, as reported today by ConstructionDive, has indeed begun. As noted at Data Center Dynamics, plans for the Wisconsin facility, erected on a former FoxConn manufacturing site, were first announced in March 2023, as reported on in April by TMJ4 News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as shown in the video below.

As reported in August by BizTimes of Milwaukee, "The data center project is located on 318.6 acres of land within the Foxconn development area. It is located in the east section of Area III, within the village’s Tax Increment District No. 5. The parcel of land is south of Braun Road in the village of Mount Pleasant, north of Highway KR (1st Street), east of the Canadian Pacific Rail right-of-way, and west of 90th Street. Microsoft purchased the land from the village for $50 million and plans to spend $1 billion to build the data center."

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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