Loudoun County officials have partially backtracked on a decision to deny a data center campus proposal in Belmont, in Northern Virginia.

SDC Capital Partners, via Loudoun GC LLC, is seeking to develop the Belmont Innovation Campus; an 112-acre site located between Belmont Ridge Road and Goose Creek.

SDC belmont innovation campus virginia
The proposed site of SDC's Belmont campus – Loudoun County

Originally planned back in 2022, the site's current ordinance allows data center development by right; SDC is allowed to develop 1.3 million sq ft (120,775 sqm) of data center space on the site without needing permission from the board.

However, the company had been planning bigger, and originally hoped to develop as much as 4.88 million sq ft (453,365 sqm) of data center space. The company then dropped the planned size of the data centers down to around 3.8 million sq ft, and then again to 2.9 million sq ft (269,420 sqm), adding a number of environmental proffers, and committed to installing 70,000 square feet of solar panels.

The Loudoun Planning Commission and county staff had recommended approval of the proposals, but the board of supervisors voted 5-4 to deny the proposals in a March 13 meeting.

More than 50 people spoke at the three-hour public meeting. The board said the proposals were incompatible with and would impact nearby existing residential development, and would contribute to the need for additional high-voltage transmission lines.

However, in a March 19 meeting this week Supervisor Turner moved that the Board of Supervisors reconsider its vote to deny the application.

He said after the original motion to deny earlier in the month, SDC had gotten in touch, saying it would continue with the smaller by-right development either way, but would include all of the previously proposed environmental proffers from the larger proposal if the board would reconsider its vote.

He said the vote to reconsider and potentially paving the way to future approval at a planned April public meeting would allow development work to begin immediately, rather than see a six-month delay via the by-right development option. Turner noted SDC was keen to avoid the delay.

After previously voting to deny the original application, Supervisor Turner described voting for the new proposal as a “no brainer,” saying that since the county is going to get the smaller data center development either way, why wouldn’t it want the “world-class environmental package” as well.

The board voted 4-3 in favor of reconsidering the proposals, with two absentees. The application will come back to the board with the new proffers for consideration at a later date.

Founded in 2017, SDC Capital Partners is a private equity firm based in New York and focused on digital infrastructure. Its investments include Sentinel Data Centers, Latin American operator Ascenty, a number of fiber firms, and Arcadia Towers.