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QTS Unveils New Plans For Contentious 850-Acre Virginia Data Center Campus

A rendering of one of the planned QTS data centers in Prince William County

Data Center developer QTS has unveiled its latest plans for a massive campus in Prince William County’s controversial Digital Gateway.

The Kansas-based data center giant hopes to build 16 two- and three-story data center buildings over about 850 acres within the PW Digital Gateway, the highly divisive data center development district poised to turn Virginia’s Prince William County into a global data center hub.

One of two developers planning to build within the Digital Gateway footprint, QTS hopes to submit the project to county officials for approval by this summer, InsideNova reports. 

QTS’ plans, released Friday, outline the scale of the project and detail the company’s efforts to respond to resident concerns about its impact on the surrounding area. Plans include 34 acres of forest to separate the campus from nearby residential neighborhoods, plus walking and equestrian trails and infrastructure improvements to local roadways. 

It is unlikely the QTS plans will stem the wave of opposition that has grown since the PW Digital Gateway was first proposed in 2021. Land use changes passed in November allow for the rezoning of 2,139 acres extending from the historic Manassas battlefield in the south to Route 234 on its northern boundary — part of a stretch of agricultural, residential and protected forest known as the Rural Crescent.

The rezoning would allow as much as 27.6M SF of data center buildings within the PW Digital Gateway footprint. By comparison, that is nearly as much as has been built or is currently under construction in neighboring Loudoun County, the home of what is known as Data Center Alley and the largest data center market in the world.

The massive scale of the project has made it deeply unpopular with some residents, who are concerned about the impact of large-scale industrial infrastructure in the predominantly rural area. The development plans have led to protests outside QTS’ regional headquarters and made data center development a fiercely debated topic in both local editorial pages and elections.   

QTS and Compass Datacenters, the other developer planning a campus within the PW Digital Gateway footprint, will still require separate approvals from the Prince William County Board of Supervisors for the projects to move forward.