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Boston Properties Sells Vacant Virginia Land To Data Center Builder

A piece of land in Sterling, Virginia, located near the site that Boston Properties sold to Vantage Data Centers.

Boston Properties has unloaded 10 acres of undeveloped land in Virginia’s Loudoun County to a major data center provider.

Denver-based Vantage Data Centers acquired a pair of adjacent parcels just north of Dulles International Airport in Sterling for around $27M, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Boston Properties purchased the site — which sits in the heart of what is now the world’s most important data center market — more than 20 years ago, but the REIT never built on it. Vantage’s acquisition adds to the company’s already-sizable portfolio in Loudoun, and it comes as the county faces infrastructure problems and regulatory changes that could reshape the market’s data center landscape. 

While Vantage hasn’t announced its plans for the newly acquired parcel, the land sits in close proximity to a pair of projects that the data center provider is already undertaking in Sterling.

Vantage specializes in building and leasing entire data centers — or entire campuses — to so-called hyperscale tenants, cloud or social media giants like Amazon Web Services, Google or Meta that are driving much of the growing demand for these facilities. The company has already broken ground on one such campus in Sterling, the $1B Vantage Data Plaza that sits just across Pacific Boulevard from the newly acquired site. Vantage is also spending $380M to build out an 800K SF data center campus at another location in Sterling, according to WBJ.

It has been a tumultuous few months for data center development in Loudoun County, which houses the world’s densest concentration of data centers by a significant margin. While demand for data center construction in Loudoun County remains strong, the famously data center-friendly market has been beset by infrastructure problems and growing political uncertainty that have developers paying attention and neighboring submarkets sensing an opportunity. 

In July, utility Dominion Energy announced it wouldn't be able to deliver power as expected to a handful of data center developments in Ashburn’s Data Center Alley. The revelation created widespread concern that the power needs of the industry are outpacing the capabilities of the area’s power generation and transmission infrastructure. 

Last month, Loudoun County officials approved land use changes that would effectively bar new data center development in significant swaths of the county. The new rules followed months of growing public hostility to data centers, with residents and political leaders voicing concerns about the visual impact of facilities near residential and commercial areas, as well as worries that demand from data center developers has priced out other users. 

While experts say these recent developments have been a boon to nearby submarkets like Prince William County and Frederick, Maryland, it has hardly brought new data center construction to a halt in the world’s digital infrastructure hub. In addition to Vantage’s acquisition, data center provider Yondr announced last week it has broken ground on a new Loudoun County campus, part of a 280-acre build-out across Northern Virginia.