Former aluminium site to house Snowhorn’s 1GW data centre campus

Former aluminium site to house Snowhorn’s 1GW data centre campus

Frederick Maryland.jpg

Josh Snowhorn has revealed the location of his planned new Quantum Loophole data centre campus, and announced investment from part of the TPG group.

The location will be a 2,100 acre (850 hectare) site in Frederick County, Maryland (see map, from Google Maps), north-west of Washington DC and west of Baltimore.

“This project marks the first comprehensive approach to data centre development inclusive of environmental impact, efficiency in power use and distribution, fibre connectivity, and a streamlined approach to construction,” said Snowhorn.

“Quantum Loophole’s approach enables cost efficiencies, expedited time-to-market, and a revolutionary and industry-leading commitment to sustainability for hyperscale data centre developments.”

Snowhorn, who spoke about his plans to Capacity in March, said the site will have 1GW of power capacity, with individual data centre modules of 30-120MW that can be deployed in less than nine months.

The site he has chosen was an aluminium smelting plant built by Alcoa in the village of Adamstown (pop 2,300) in 1970 and closed in 2005. The whole aluminium site was demolished in 2011. Alcoa said it had sold the site to Quantum Loophole and TPG for $100 million in cash. 

Snowhorn told Capacity earlier this year that he plans a fibre ring for the new campus, which he said is less than one millisecond by fibre from the heart of the northern Virginia internet ecosystem.

The investor, TPG Real Estate Partners (TREP), which is not connected with the Australian telco TPG, will help to fund the site acquisition.

“Demand for cloud computing and cloud-based services has grown rapidly over the past decade, and Frederick County is an important growth outlet for the northern Virginia data centre market,” said Ty Newell, managing director at TREP, which has $5.6 billion of assets under management.

Newell added: “With industrial zoning and access to significant power capacity, the development site will offer several benefits to a fast-growing hyperscale tenant base that is intensely focused on speed of delivery. We are pleased to partner with the team at Quantum Loophole and look forward to executing on our shared vision for an innovative and sustainable development that will deliver enduring value to the local community.”

TPG did not say how much it is investing in Snowhorn’s company.

TPG emerged in May as the purchaser of a 30% stake in AT&T’s video interests, DirecTV, AT&T TV and U-verse, for $7.6 billion. AT&T originally bought DirecTV for $49 billion in 2015.

Last year TPG and Patriot Media Management sold Astound Broadband, the sixth largest US cable operator, to Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners for $8.1 billion.

Snowhorn said this morning: “Partnering with TREP strengthens our vision, setting us firmly on the path to build the first-ever, mass-scale gigawatt data centre community.”

He added: “Together, we are implementing a truly powerful next-generation clean cloud community that will reshape the industry, raising the bar for accountability, sustainability, and planned future data centre development to the next level.”





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