New data centre campus proposal raises energy usage questions

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Developers are looking to build a large data centre campus in Gainesville, Prince William County, Virginia, despite concerns about efficient energy usage. The I-66 and US 29 Technology Park would see up to six data centre buildings and substations built on the site in Northern Virginia.

US real estate development firm Lerner is the lead developer on the project. The company is seeking to rezone a portion of the property from agriculture to business, along with a special-use permit to allow data centre uses outside of the county’s Data Centre Opportunity Zone overlay district and allow for up to 2.89 million square feet of data centre development.

The proposed development is around 2,500 feet away from the current overlay zone, which PWC is currently exploring the possibility of expanding. The Prince William County Planning Commission deferred the request until October to gather more information and gain preliminary results of the overlay expansion study. Some commissioners raised concerns about energy usage and its compatibility with surrounding uses, in addition to the fact that the development didn’t have a planned user. However, the PWC staff recommendation to the commission was to approve the development.

The county has seen two separate applications for one million square foot campuses this month, one from Amazon in Manassas and another from an as-yet-unidentified company in Haymarket. An 800-acre development is also in the process of being proposed in the county.

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