PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VA—A California development group wants to build an $800-million data center farm near Manassas, VA. San Jose-based US Dataport hopes to buy a 200-acre parcel and begin work on a data-center campus of 10 to 20 buildings with a total of two million sf by the end of the year, according to Lew Shadle, Dataport’s director of business development. He would not confirm the location. Negotiations were expected to close in two to four weeks.

It is the latest, and by far the largest, of a series of data-center deals that have swept through Northern Virginia. An affiliate of Kimball Small Properties, Dataport is also building a super-hub in San Jose and considering six sites in the New York metro area for a third.

Data centers are windowless, high-security, one-story flex or industrial buildings. They house computers and telecommunications equipment that host Web services, house application-service providers and route Internet and data telecommunications. Typically minded by a skeleton staff, they have been known to cost hundreds of dollars per square foot to equip, far more than even the most richly appointed office buildings. One center in Fairfax, VA cost more than $700 per sf.

Technology and telecommunications companies want to build data centers in the area stretching roughly from Reston and Sterling to Manassas because it is near Dulles International Airport, which links to Washington via the Dulles Toll Road. America Online’s headquarters is in Sterling and MCI/WorldCom’s is under construction less than a mile away. Most important, all four major providers are laying the miles of fiber-optic cable needed to carry voice, data and video transmissions. US Dataport’s project would be close to the new facility of Covad Communication and America Online’s $500-million complex.

In yet another new data-center deal, AT&T has leased two buildings totaling 163,880 sf in Ashburn, VA. Data centers are usually constructed to suit or adapted, but some builders are starting to erect them on a speculative basis. This includes structures on the Dataport campus, company officials say. DataCentersNow, a subsidiary of Beco Management, is planning four speculative projects, one of them in Prince William County.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.



Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2024 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.