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Peterson Cos. Proposes $1.5B Northern Virginia Data Center Campus

Peterson Cos. plans to develop a 5.5M SF data center campus in Stafford County, Virginia.

Peterson Cos. wants Stafford County to rezone the 524-acre "application zone" to allow more than 5M SF of new data center development.

The proposed 524-acre campus could eventually house more than two dozen separate buildings on an undeveloped stretch of woodlands near the Stafford Regional Airport, Potomac Local and Data Center Dynamics reported. In filings with county planning officials, Peterson affiliate Stafford Technology LC says it plans to spend more than $1.5B on what it is calling the Stafford Technology Campus. 

While the developer has given no indication as to who the operators or tenants at the proposed campus might be, plans filed with the county outline a five-phase project that at full build-out will include more than 25 buildings with a range of square footage and one or more electrical substations. The campus would also require the county to approve significant zoning changes, with the site’s designation changing from agricultural/rural to a Targeted Development Area.

Although Fairfax-based Peterson Cos. isn't a major player in the digital infrastructure landscape, the company has been involved in at least one data center development in Northern Virginia. In 2020, Peterson announced plans to partner with Stack Infrastructure on a data center campus in Manassas, a project that could eventually reach 250 megawatts of capacity. Peterson has also been active in building other industrial properties in Stafford County, developing a 1.9M SF warehouse project close to the site of the proposed data center park. 

Should the Stafford Technology Campus come to fruition, the project would be the county’s largest data center development. The data center industry has little presence in Stafford County, despite it bordering both Prince William and Fauquier Counties, both digital infrastructure development hot spots. 

But that appears to be changing. An undisclosed developer filed initial plans in January to build four data centers in separate locations across Stafford County. The past five years have also seen local officials explore incentivizing data center development, with lawmakers exploring both targeted tax breaks and a zoning overlay district where data centers would be permitted by right. 

Peterson’s proposed campus is just the latest example of the data center industry’s widening footprint across Northern Virginia, with developers looking well beyond the traditional data center hub of Loudoun County in a search for developable land and access to the massive amounts of electricity needed to power these facilities. 

In January, a developer announced plans for a nearly 3M SF data center campus south of Stafford in Spotsylvania County. Birchwood Power Partners proposed a data center campus at a decommissioned power plant in neighboring King George County last August, although those plans were withdrawn in November.