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AREP, Harrison Street Plan $1B Data Center Project In Northern Virginia

A rendering of the ABX-1 at Beaumeade data center.

American Real Estate Partners is launching a major expansion of its data center portfolio through a new joint venture with Harrison Street.

Tysons, Virginia-based AREP and Chicago investment firm Harrison Street plan to build up to six data centers totaling 2.1M SF in Ashburn and Arcola, Virginia, a $1B project, the companies announced Wednesday.

The powered shell data centers would be build-to-suit across three sites, including a portion of the former AOL headquarters in Ashburn. The proposed buildings would range in size from 265K SF to 440K SF.

"The demand for more data centers is simply based upon our society’s move to an even more integral life with technology," AREP CEO Doug Fleit said in a press release. "We are creating not just exponentially more data but new and ever more useful ways to apply that data.  All of this speaks to a long term data center trend for markets like Ashburn, Virginia."

The new buildings are just the latest expansion for Loudoun County's Data Center Alley, which has emerged as the world's largest data center market. Ashburn has been growing steadily for much of the past decade, and this isn't AREP's first foray into the market: It previously acquired the 1.8M SF Quantum Park through a joint venture with Davidson Kempner in 2015.

The market is so hot that developers are beginning to bump up against planned mixed-use areas in the county, sparking controversy around land use negotiations for formerly vacant sites.

But it's full steam ahead for AREP and Harrison Street's Ashburn campus, where the team expects to deliver 300 megawatts of capacity at the four buildings.

Progress is already underway at one of those buildings, the ABX-1 at Beaumeade site, which the JV acquired in January 2021. That site will deliver a 265K SF center on Loudoun County Parkway.

The portfolio also includes two centers at an Arcola campus, located directly across from a Google development near the Dulles airport. Those centers are expected to run on approximately 100-125 megawatts of capacity.