Feb. 24--A national data center developer, preparing for future growth, plans to build two of those facilities on a 34-acre site in Totowa once owned by pharmaceutical giant Roche Inc., which would further enhance New Jersey's status as a major data center hub.
Digital Realty Trust Inc., based in San Francisco, has begun building a power substation on its Totowa property at 701 Union Blvd., said Pamela Garibaldi, the company's vice president of marketing, on Thursday.
"It's quite a large site that can support quite a lot of development," she said.
Digital Realty's proposed master plan for the site includes construction of a 270,000-square-foot data center and a 127,000-square-foot data facility, Garibaldi said. There is no timetable yet for when work will start on them.
"These are very large facilities, and we wouldn't start construction on them until we need the inventory," she said.
North Jersey is one of the nation's largest data center clusters, because of its proximity to New York City, and Digital Realty essentially wants to have a placeholder in the region for future expansion. When Digital Realty's available data center space in the tri-state area starts to fill up, it will start building in Totowa, Garibaldi said.
"Our strategy is to have space and/or land available for future inventory," she said. "New Jersey is a key market, so we always like to secure space ahead of time.''
Digital Realty has a 370,000-square-foot data center in Weehawken at 300 Boulevard East, and two data centers in Piscataway, one 265,000 square feet and the other 277,000 square feet, Garibaldi said.
"We do have some availability at the existing sites," she said.
Once those data centers are close to full usage, Digital Realty will build on Union Boulevard. It takes about 12 months to build out the shell of a data center, Garibaldi said.
Digital Realty acquired the Totowa site from Roche for $16.8 million in November 2012, and it opted to demolish a 272,000-square-foot building on the property rather than renovate it and make it a data center.
"We decided to go back to the drawing board," Garibaldi said.
Digital Realty selects its site based on the proximity to power sources and fiber networks and where its clients want to be located, she said.
"New Jersey is a key market for the financial services industry primarily and corporate-enterprise customers because of its proximity to Manhattan, a lot of banks and financial institutions, and even cloud and IT service providers that support New York," Garibaldi said.
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