A rezoning request has been filed in Culpeper County, Virginia, that would pave the way for more than 700,000 sq ft 65,000 sqm) of new data center development.
David Martin, president of software development firm AttoTek, Inc has filed to rezone around 88 acres at his property along Brandy Road and Stevensburg Road in Brandy Station.
The land is currently zoned Rural Area (38 acres) and Commercials Services (50 acres) in the area’s development plan. The application seeks to rezone it to Light Industrial, under which data centers can be developed.
The Culpeper Star Exponent reports Martin pared back his original proposal to develop up to 940,000 sq ft (82,300 sqm) of data centers to around 765,000 sq ft (71,700 sqm). The project is reportedly known as the Brandy Station Technology Park.
The original application outlines plans to market the property to data center developers for up to three data centers. Phase A would consist of a single-story structure totaling 337,500 sq ft , and Phase B would consist of two single-story structures of 270,000 sq ft and 337,500 sq ft. The revised application seemingly shortened the buildings.
The site isn’t currently served by public water and sewer systems, and the application notes any facilities built on site would use air-cooled and/or closed-loop systems.
The application notes a substation would likely also be built nearby to service the facilities. The land sits in one of the County’s technology opportunity zones, making it eligible for tax incentives from the county when developed.
The application said the proposed rezoning is ‘consistent with the County’s economic objectives’ and the development of data centers would have a ‘significant and positive effect on the County’s economic development.’
“A data center produces a substantial revenue stream and jobs during construction, pays ample taxes thereafter, and the salaries of operational personnel once a data center is completed will materially exceed the average salary of current County residents,” it said.
In the meeting last week, Martin conceded no developer or tenants have been secured for the site and it is not currently being marketed. The S-E reports that the entire 351-acre property could eventually be developed over time with more than a dozen data centers covering more than 4 million square feet.
“We don’t have a builder ready to break ground,” Martin said during his presentation last week. “The main goal is to prepare this property to get the interest of data center builders.”
The rezoning request was deferred until next month as the planning commission had further questions about the project it wanted to address.
“The concept is ok, but it doesn’t satisfy me. It makes me ask more questions,” said Vice Chairwoman Cindy Thornhill, starting with the level of water runoff from the data center roofs and managing that.
Northern Virginia is the world’s major data center market, but Culpeper County has largely eschewed the trend. There are four Equinix data centers in Culpeper County (CU1-4) that opened around 14 years ago.
AWS was recently granted permission to rezone 243 acres of land as a precursor to developing a data center campus consisting of two buildings spanning up to a combined 430,000 square feet (40,000 sqm). The county Board of Supervisors approved the rezoning 4-3 in April, despite the county Planning Commission previously voting to recommend denying the application. However, local residents are now suing county supervisors hoping to have the decision overturned.
Nearby landowners allege that the board’s April vote illegally spot-zoned the land contrary to the county’s 2015 comprehensive land-use plan. They say the rezoning violates local and state law. They also claim the supervisors approved Amazon’s electrical substation without proper public review or governmental process.
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