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Massive Maryland Data Center Campus Locks Down First 4 Tenants

Frederick, Maryland

A “city-scale” data center campus under development in Frederick, Maryland, has secured its first four tenants.

Quantum Loophole, the company behind a 2,100-acre project that plans to provide development-ready sites and supporting infrastructure for millions of square feet of data centers, has secured commitments from four data center operators totaling more than 240 megawatts of capacity, it announced Monday.

The scale of these planned facilities is massive: With a planned delivery date of 2024, the first wave of build-out entails more data center capacity than exists in the entire New York Tri-State area. Quantum Loophole announced in May that data center provider Aligned would be building out a facility on the site, branded as Quantum Frederick.

The other three initial developers remain unconfirmed, although sources tell Bisnow that one of the tenants is a self-developed and self-operated hyperscale user, likely a cloud or social media giant like Facebook, Amazon, Google or Microsoft. 

“Our timetable to deliver is our promise to our customers,” Quantum Loophole founder and CEO Josh Snowhorn said in a press release. “As of today, we have signed contracts with four different entities representing more than 240MW of phase 1 power on our Frederick campus.”

Securing commitments from four data center operators looking to develop at significant scale represents an endorsement of Quantum Loophole’s multitenant campus concept, unusual within the data center space.

Built on the site of a former Alcoa aluminum smelting plant, the campus offers data center developers entitled sites with connections to the kind of power and optical fiber infrastructure that data center builders demand. The company says the sites eventual capacity exceeds one gigawatt — more capacity than exists in any market other than Northern Virginia. 

But Frederick is not a significant data center market, even though it sits just 25 miles from the internet’s global hub in Ashburn, Virginia. Data center operators generally demand close proximity to each other, which eases the expense of interconnecting network infrastructure and facilitating the nearly instant sharing of data.

Quantum Loophole is in the process of boring under the Potomac River to lay a massive fiber cable connecting the campus to data center hubs in Northern Virginia. This kind of infrastructure project represents a massive cost, but with tenants on board, experts suggest this gamble may be paying off. 

“They have entitled, ready developable sites, which is a very marketable thing right now,” said Ali Greenwood, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Data Center Advisory Group. “They’ve done an exceptional job of putting in the fiber infrastructure, the power infrastructure and getting that thing fully entitled, so it is a very easy-to-develop option if you have an interest in going that far out from Loudoun.”

The project’s profile has also grown in the wake of power and land constraints in Loudoun County. The revelation in July that utility Dominion Energy would not be able to serve some projects in the heart of Ashburn’s Data Center Alley as soon as expected accelerated a trend of data center builders looking to neighboring submarkets. Maryland may have been considered the data center hinterlands just a few months ago, but the industry’s landscape is shifting.

“Nine months ago, people were saying, 'Wow, they really went out on the fringes of a market, and it’s a lot of land,'” Greenwood told Bisnow. “But then the Dominion story broke, and everybody thought, 'Well, if you’re going to have to go out to Fairfax County or Prince William County or Culpeper County, could you go to Maryland?'”