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Data Center Kicks Up Controversy In Famously Friendly Loudoun County


A new BlackChamber Group data center planned for Loudoun County, long a welcoming destination for such outposts, is receiving a decidedly frosty reception.

If approved to move forward, the structure will sit on a 23-acre plot of land, causing county officials to question whether the data center would be the best use of land in an area that is slated for mixed-use construction projects.

The contested land is also about a mile away from the future Innovation Center Metro station, although the mixed-use developments that would utilize the metro service could be decades from completion.

“We don’t think this will develop as a residential use for another 30 years yet,” Ben Wales, a Cooley land use attorney who represents BlackChamber, told the Washington Business Journal.

The company has argued that given the length of time the land will be vacant, the best solution would be to use it to create tax revenue in the meantime. His projections estimate at least $90M could be raised over the next 10 years.

BlackChamber has also agreed to make the data center an “interim use.” However, apprehensions remained about the difficulty of building around a massive data center in future years.

“I would rather wait to see if something else comes along for this property. But we can keep this in our back pocket,” Supervisor Koran Saines, a Democrat from Sterling, told the Washington Business Journal.

The issue remains up in the air and has been pushed to June 1 for a final vote after a board meeting on May 13. Supervisor Mike Turner, a Democrat from Ashburn, was the only person to oppose the vote.