A joint venture between Lincoln Property Co. and Harrison Street will build a 190-acre data center and industrial campus near Columbus, Ohio, which could attract a wide range of users and industries including technology, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and e-commerce.
The site in New Albany, a Columbus suburb in Licking County, is adjacent to the $20 billion, 1,000-acre property where Intel is building multiple semi-conductor chip plants. That site has room to build up to eight plants. Intel is planning to begin its first phase of construction later this year.
The LPC and Harrison Street joint venture is calling its campus Silicon Heartland Innovation Park. LPC has already secured a 15-year, 100 percent real estate tax abatement from New Albany City Council. Silicon Heartland Innovation Park will provide access to recently expanded road systems, dual 345 KVA transmission lines, reliable electric service, substantial water resources and an abundant fiber network.
LPC’s Chicago-based Midwest team will begin immediate construction on the first phase which will include a speculative 175,000 square-foot, 32-foot clear-height warehouse and a 446,000-square-foot, cross-dock distribution building. Both buildings will have ample parking and are expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2023.
Lincoln Rackhouse, LPC’s data center division, will also begin construction immediately on the data center campus. Development plans for that portion of the site include construction of an on-site 200MVA, electrical substation. The data center campus will accommodate up to 1.2 million square feet and 144MW of critical load designed specifically for hyperscalers and other major operators.
JLL’s Columbus team will assist in the marketing of Silicon Heartland Innovation Park, with Brian Marsh focusing on the industrial facilities and Dan Wendorf focusing on the data center assets.
Martin Peck, executive vice president of Lincoln Rackhouse, said in a prepared statement it is becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified ‘power’ data center sites in Tier 1 data center markets like Northern Virginia and Chicago. The New Albany location will offer the perfect environment for the next phase of large hyperscale and colocation growth, Peck said.
The park is strategically located near Columbus’ John Glenn Airport and the Central Ohio Transit Authority bus line. It is also in close proximity to several nearby colleges and universities, including The Ohio State University. The SR 161 Expressway runs through New Albany with five freeway interchanges and the site is also 5 minutes from the Interstate-270 outer belt. The Columbus industrial and data center markets have been growing because about 50 percent of the North American population lives within 500 miles, or a 10-hour drive, of the metro.
Michael Hochanadel, managing director and head of digital real estate at Harrison Street, said in prepared remarks New Albany is an exciting data center market with tremendous potential for digital infrastructure growth following Intel’s planned chip factory expansion. He said the project is consistent with Harrison Street’s digital investment strategy and ability to identify sites for data center development in attractive markets with strong demand for increased connectivity options.
Since 2018, Harrison Street, an investment management firm focused alternative real assets, has invested about $2.3 billion in digital assets, including powered shells, carrier hotels, strategic colocations and dark fiber. In January, Harrison Street committed $1 billion in partnership with American Real Estate Partners to develop six powered shell data centers representing 2.1 million square feet of data center space in Northern Virginia. Targeted at hyperscale customers, the assets will be built in Ashburn and Arcola, Va., in the area known as Loudon County’s Data Center Alley.
The Columbus area, including New Albany, has continued to grow in recent years as a hyperscale destination, according to Cushman & Wakefield. In its Columbus Winter 2021 Marketbeat data center report, Cushman & Wakefield stated there was 80 MW under construction, a vacancy rate of 3 percent and 1MW of absorption in the second half of 2021. The report noted there was “high expectations of further expansion to meet demand throughout 2022.”
New Albany already has numerous data centers by major players including Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Meta (formerly Facebook) and Stack. In April, Meta announced it was expanding its New Albany site with another two buildings totaling about 1 million square feet. Google also bought more land and confirmed a full Cloud region coming online in 2022, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Elsewhere in the Columbus area, Cologix Inc. said it was planning to expand its data center campus with a new 250,000-square-foot data center that will increase capacity by 40 megawatts.
The industrial market is also tight in the Columbus region. In its Q1 2022 Columbus Industrial Marketbeat report, Cushman & Wakefield reported the vacancy rate was 1.7 percent and net absorption had hit a record in 2021 and was off to a strong start in 2022 as well. Absorption for the first quarter was 2.9 million square feet, up slightly year-over-year. Gross leasing activity in the first quarter was 4.5 million square feet, higher than the previous two quarters, according to Cushman & Wakefield.
In April, VanTrust Real Estate broke ground on two speculative industrial buildings in the New Albany International Business Park, adding the 302,400-square feet Innovation II and 524,500-square-foot New Albany 525 to holdings it already has in the park.