A colocation data center has been launched in a former Blackberry facility in Waterloo, Canada.

Columbia Data Vault last week announced the launch of the facility in Ontario, saying it has assumed control of a former BlackBerry data center previously known as RIM10.

The former phone giant was founded and is still based in Waterloo; its founders were graduates of the nearby University of Waterloo.

Columbia_Data_Vault - Waterloo
– Columbia Data Vault

"AI technology is poised to disrupt and revolutionize industries across the board," said Michael Wekerle, CEO of Columbia Data Vault. "Our new data center represents a significant leap forward in the development of AI infrastructure, enabling organizations to harness the full potential of this transformative technology."

The facility, built around 2005 and located at 176 Columbia Street West, features four 500kW generators and two 750kW Eaton UPS systems.

The company’s website suggests Columbia Data Vault is targeting AI and blockchain customers; the company is offering up to 40kW per rack. Fiber providers to the site include Bell, Rogers, Telus, Verizon, Zayo, GigaFiber, and DataCity.

An SRM Architects case study describes the site as a four-story, 147,000 sq ft office building with an adjacent generator building, as well as a 20,000 sq ft data center.

A CBRE sales brochure suggests the data center portion of the building offers 40,000 sq ft and 14,000 sq ft of raised floor and 4.24MW of capacity, with expandable electrical infrastructure and capacity able to accommodate an additional 1.5MW. The brochure suggested the Tier III-quality site was previously available with 500 racks in place at densities of 5kW per rack.

Part of the site was previously leased to Ford – which opened an innovation center in the building in 2017 but officially announced the site around 2019. It's unclear if Ford is still present at the property.

The site is likely owned by Waterloo Innovation Network (WIN) – a fund set up by former Dragon’s Den investor Wekerle to acquire properties in Waterloo vacated by Blackberry.

Spear Street Capital reportedly acquired 176 Columbia West in 2014 for $13.7 million, with WIN paying $20.4 million some six months later.

However, after acquiring six buildings in the area, the Globe and Mail notes the venture has suffered internal strife and litigation between its executives and has sold all but one of the sites.

A construction notice from 2022 suggests WIN is likely still the property owner, with Ford still as a tenant.