Amazon has paid six times over the valuation for prime land in the data center hotspot of Virginia.
It bought nearly 90 acres in two plots in Loudoun County, in a part of Virginia outside the US capital Washington DC where Amazon has built nearly 40 data centers already. It paid $118m for land that had been valued at $19.7m, according to the County records office.
"That's the way things are going right now. Data centers are going up like hot cakes," Erik Larson, manager of the Loudoun County Land Records Office, told DCD.
Loudoun records show that Vadata, Amazon's data center business, paid $116.4m for 89 acres (360,000 sq m) near Dulles Airport, on the Washington border, that the county had valued at $19m. It was owned by a land investor, Nova WPC LLC.
It bought another, three-acre plot on the other side of the county, in a data center hotspot called the Trans-Dulles Complex, at the Fairfax County line. Larson said it had become primary land there. Vadata paid investor CPUS Sterling LP $1.5m for it. The County valued the land at $0.6m.
Amazon had 38 data centers in Virginia in 2015, according to a document leaked by WikiLeaks last year. It had about 100 spread around the US and other countries. But approaching half of all them were in Virginia, close to the Beltway of Washington, where government and military contractors compete for business. It is where Amazon Web Services began operating in 2006.
According to the Loudoun County records, Amazon paid about $0.5m per acre for the east-county plot, and $1.3m an acre for the larger, airport plot. In May, data center operator Digital Realty paid $2.1m per acre in Ashburn, a nearby Loudoun town.
The Washington Business Journal reported that local land speculator Chuck Kuhn bought the plot from a health foundation for $20m in June. Colorado-based Nova WPC LLC bought it for $98.7m on 30 July 2019, and sold it on to Amazon that same day. WBJ said Kuhn had bought 440 acres of East Loudoun land in recent years. He had sold nearly 100 acres of it.
Amazon Web Services did not respond to a request for comment.