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Amazon Razing 11 Northern Virginia Offices For New Data Centers


Amazon plans to demolish at least 11 office buildings in Northern Virginia and replace them with data centers as part of its $35B expansion in the area.

The tech and cloud computing giant has filed plans with Loudoun County officials to raze nine office buildings on three different properties in Sterling, replacing them with four data centers totaling more than 900K SF, the Washington Business Journal reports.

Amazon is already in the process of redeveloping a two-building office property in neighboring Fairfax County into a data center. The projects come as the company increasingly turns to brownfield developments amid power and land constraints in the world’s largest data center market.

In Sterling, Amazon plans to demolish three office buildings at the Loudoun Commerce Center on Nokes Boulevard, as well as a trio of offices at the Loudoun Tech Center on Ridgetop Circle and three more at a single property on Manekin Plaza. 

According to site plans filed with county officials and reported by WBJ, Amazon is planning to build single data centers on the Nokes Boulevard and Manekin Plaza properties: a two-story, 312K SF facility on the former and a three-story, 313K SF data center and generator yard on the latter. The Loudoun Tech Center site could see a pair of data centers, one 254K SF and the other 60K SF. 

All nine of the buildings set to be demolished were purchased by Amazon and its data center subsidiaries within the past two years, WBJ reported. The company bought the Nokes Boulevard office complex from Virginia firm Clark-Hooke Corp. for $30.8M last summer and acquired the Ridgetop Circle site in January 2022 for $26.4M from a subsidiary of St. John Properties. The Manekin Plaza property was acquired from an investment fund in late 2021 in a $21M deal. 

In addition to the proposed projects in Sterling, Amazon is in the process of demolishing two Fairfax County office buildings to make way for a data center and generator yard. Located on the Belvoir Corporate Campus in Springfield, the two buildings — which were never occupied — were purchased by Amazon in 2021 in a $28M deal with Pennsylvania firm Rubenstein Partners. 

Amazon’s planned wave of brownfield data center builds is part of the company’s broader $35B digital infrastructure development push in Virginia, announced earlier this year.

Northern Virginia, and Loudoun County in particular, may be the world’s largest data center hub, but it is an increasingly difficult place to build these facilities. Properties with access to the massive amounts of energy data centers require are increasingly scarce, while data center projects close to residential communities — including Amazon’s — are facing a growing wave of resistance from residents. 

All this makes certain suburban office properties a tempting proposition for data center developers, who are willing to swallow the high purchase price and development costs to squeeze additional data center capacity into the industry’s most important market. Buoyed by stubbornly high office vacancy rates, it’s a trend that can also be seen in other data center hubs with severe power constraints, most notably Silicon Valley.