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Amazon, Lincoln Property Co. Plan New Data Center Projects In Emerging Columbus Market

Two new data center projects are moving forward in Columbus, as the Ohio city continues to draw increased attention as an emerging data center market.

Columbus, Ohio

Amazon Web Services is planning a 151-acre data center campus in the Columbus suburb of Hilliard, the company announced Friday.

A day earlier, a joint venture of Lincoln Property Co. and Harrison Street announced a 104-acre data center and distribution project in New Albany, Ohio. The two hyperscale projects are the latest in a growing pipeline of data center development in an area that industry insiders say is becoming an increasingly important data center hub.   

About 15 miles north of Columbus, New Albany is already a key nexus for data center and high-tech development in the area. Intel is building a massive chip fabrication plant in the town, and Google, Meta and Stack all operate — or are in the process of developing — data centers there.

“New Albany is an exciting data center market with tremendous potential for digital infrastructure growth following Intel’s planned chip factory expansion,” Michael Hochanadel, managing director and head of digital real estate at Harrison Street said in a statement. “This project is consistent with Harrison Street’s digital investment strategy and ability to identify strategic sites for data center development in attractive markets with strong demand for increased connectivity options.”

Construction on Harrison Street and LPC’s New Albany campus will begin immediately, with LPC’s data center arm Lincoln Rackhouse building out an electrical substation and other infrastructure needed for hyperscale development. According to a statement issued by the JV, the site can accommodate 1.2M SF of total development with access to 144 megawatts of power. Distribution center and logistics infrastructure will also share the site with data center facilities. 

AWS also operates a data center in New Albany, but its newest campus — and the bulk of Amazon’s cloud infrastructure in the area — is in the suburb of Hilliard. The project announced last week will be developed in conjunction with a separate, 104-acre data center project in Hilliard unveiled last October, according to the Columbus Business Journal. City officials say construction will begin this fall on the two sites, which Amazon purchased for a combined $29.8M.

Built in 2016, the existing AWS facility in Hilliard houses five data centers.  The simultaneous development of the two newer campuses reflects stronger-than-expected demand growth for cloud services, according to the Columbus Business Journal. 

While still a relative minnow in terms of overall data center space, the Columbus area has become a growing focal point for the data center world. According to CBRE’s latest data center trends report, Columbus is drawing interest because of its connectivity to network infrastructure used by hyperscalers and the presence of a key connectivity hub known as an internet exchange. CBRE also cites the region’s tech talent pool, affordable land prices and competitive power costs.

“Geography will play a key role in the growth of data centers in the region as providers consider the area for deployments of edge data centers,” the report said of Columbus. 

Lincoln Rackhouse Executive Vice President Martin Peck agrees. 

“Qualified ‘powered’ data center sites are becoming increasingly difficult to find in Tier 1 data center markets such as Northern Virginia and Chicago,” he said in a release, adding that sites in the Columbus area offer a strong environment for what he says is the industry’s “next phase of large hyperscale and colocation growth.”