American Football team the Washington Commanders have filed a plan to allow data centers to be built on the site of its training facility in Ashburn, Virginia.

The move, however, is reportedly to ensure the land retains its value in the future and that the site remains insulated from potential regulation changes.

First reported by the Burn, an engineering plan has been filed with Loudoun County for the 162-acre property at 21300 Coach Gibbs Drive.

Washington Commanders Ashburn
The Washington Commanders training site – Google Maps

Details are scarce, but the plan suggests the aim is to develop three data centers on the site.

The address is currently home to the practice facility of the NFL team the Washington Commanders, also known as the Inova Sports Performance Center. The team has been at the site since around 1992 when it relocated from Herndon in neighboring Fairfax County.

A spokesperson for the Commanders told the Burn: “Our intention in filing for this approval is to secure the option and flexibility for possible future development on our 162-acre site and it is not a plan to take any action in the near future. Any development we do will be leveraged to reinvest in our football program and fan experience.”

Executive director of Loudoun County Economic Development, Buddy Rizer, said: “This isn’t a surprise. We were aware this was coming. (The Commanders) have been very transparent with us.”

Rizer told the publication the move is so the Commanders can preserve the value of their land for potential future uses – and grandfathering in data center use under current rules in case there are future regulation changes. He added there are no actual plans to build data centers on the property at this time, and he hopes that the team will remain at the site for years to come.

“We know that data center land sells for a premium,” Rizer said. “Not having those rights secured impacts land values. They are just making a smart business decision.”

The site is adjacent to a cluster of AWS data centers along Interconnection Plaza, as well as Equinix’s DC12 facility at Performance Circle, and Centersquare and Equinix facilities along Beaumeade Circle.

If the site is redeveloped down the line, it would be the second Commanders training facility to be earmarked for data centers.

A former Washington Commanders training ground in Fairfax County was sold to data center developer Starwood last year. Based there during the 1970s, the team vacated the site in the 1990s to relocate to Loudoun County, with Word of Grace Christian Church acquiring the site around the year 2000.