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03/15/17 Five 9s Digital Knowledge

Virginia Beach's New Data Center Park expects to draw the likes of Snapchat, IBM and Uber


Screen shot 2017 03 16 at 12.34.35 pm

VIRGINIA BEACH

A Dutch company wants to create a new data center park to draw the likes of Snapchat, IBM and Uber.

NxtVn will spend $1.5 billion to $2 billion to build a hub off General Booth Boulevard to attract companies that seek high-capacity connections from the U.S. to Europe.

The company also plans to invest in a third trans-Atlantic high-speed data cable – Midgardsormen – that would link Virginia Beach to a data center park in Eemshaven, Netherlands.

So why Virginia Beach?

The city will be the only landing point on the mid-Atlantic coast for transoceanic cables, and there’s a new demand for data centers because of them, said Economic Development Director Warren Harris. Such a hub would include buildings that house computer servers where large amounts of data are stored, providing faster internet speeds.

VB Fib Facebook and Microsoft will partner with Telefonica International Wholesale Services USA Inc., which announced earlier this month that it plans to build the first transoceanic fiber cable station in the Mid-Atlantic at Corporate Landing Business Park off General Booth Boulevard, photographed in Virginia Beach, Thursday, May 26, 2016.

The first phase of development near Corporate Landing Business Park could start by the end of the year and include roughly 1.4 million square feet of buildings. It could grow and become one of the largest on the East Coast.

NxtVn would lease out space in the data center park to other businesses and would handle the licensing, permitting and zoning. Power and connectivity to the high-capacity fiber would be in place.

“Companies would then plop servers into that footprint,” Harris said.

Large data centers for technology or trading firms could employ between 50 and 100 people, and companies could open business offices nearby. The park could also house an internet exchange service, which would facilitate connectivity for internet service providers, said Khaled Sedrak, CEO of NxtVn.

“It will be a catalyst for the economy,” Sedrak said.

“Companies would then plop servers into that footprint,” Harris said.

Large data centers for technology or trading firms could employ between 50 and 100 people, and companies could open business offices nearby. The park could also house an internet exchange service, which would facilitate connectivity for internet service providers, said Khaled Sedrak, CEO of NxtVn.

“It will be a catalyst for the economy,” Sedrak said.

In March 2016, Spanish telecom giant Telefónica announced plans to connect Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza, Brazil, to Virginia Beach with the BRUSA underwater cable. In May 2016, Microsoft and Facebook announced plans to build MAREA, a new 4,000-mile-long cable that would run under the Atlantic Ocean and connect Bilbao, Spain, to Virginia Beach.

“I’m thrilled to have such powerhouse partners working with us,” Mayor Will Sessoms said Wednesday in his State of the City speech.

Over the past two years, the Virginia Beach Broadband Task Force has laid out steps that appeal to technology-driven companies, including advancements to a high-speed fiber optic network connecting municipal buildings and laying a fiber ring across the city, said Councilman Ben Davenport, chair and founder of the task force.

“We have worked with Dominion Virginia Power to make sure all power requirements could be met at these sites, which is very important because these data centers are huge power users,” said Davenport, who said that when NxtVn was told about the task force’s work on the fiber network, “this sealed the deal.”

Stacy Parker

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