Meyer Proposes Rebranding Loudoun’s Data Center Alley

Loudoun’s Data Center Alley, according to the county Department of Economic Development, is the world’s largest concentration of data centers—and it has been one of the department’s greatest success stories. But outgoing Supervisor Ron A. Meyer Jr. (R-Broad Run) says it’s time to make a change.

At the current board’s final meeting on Dec. 17, supervisors passed an initiative proposed by Meyer to look into rebranding Data Center Alley and put up signs with the new brand.

“A lot of folks who first come here either as residents or as visitors have no idea what the large, block-looking buildings are and what they do,” Meyer said. “So basically, what this does is create some signage and some branding around them. They are here to stay.”

Loudoun’s data center industry has grown at an increasing rate since the area in Ashburn was first branded Data Center Alley in 2008. Data center developers have spent more than $1 million per acre on land for data centers, and according to the Department of Economic Development, there are nearly 13.5 million square feet of data centers in operation and another 4.5 million square feet planned. The industry also brings in hundreds of millions in local tax revenue every year, last year topping $200 million in computer equipment taxes alone. A data center company, Digital Realty, also recently passed the Dulles Greenway for largest single real estate taxpayer in the county, with property valued at nearly $440 million.

The county has worked to encourage those by clearing the way for necessary infrastructure for the industry, as well as providing a fast-track program for permits and approvals for new data center developments. Local institutions such as Northern Virginia Community College have also partnered with data centers to train more people to work in the industry.

But data centers historically have also seen opposition when they have been placed near residential areas. More recently, some have been subject to more stringent design standards, but data centers have been notoriously noisy and unattractive buildings, with roofs covered in HVAC equipment to cool the server racks inside and surrounded by backup generators to keep the buildings operational during power outages.

“What this does is say, hey, you’re entering the data center corridor, and that’s typically been called ‘Data Center Alley,’ but what this says is, maybe residents don’t necessarily want to be living in an alley,” Meyer said.

Supervisors voted 8-0-1, with Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) absent, to direct the Department of Economic Development to review the branding of Loudoun’s data center corridor and explore other options. That will come back to the Board of Supervisors at an unspecified date.

rgreene@loudounnow.com

10 thoughts on “Meyer Proposes Rebranding Loudoun’s Data Center Alley

  • 2019-12-20 at 4:18 pm
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    While they’re at it, re-brand western Loudoun as “Internet Desert”. Residents without broadband have no way to access the “Alley”….

    • 2019-12-21 at 12:28 pm
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      BlueRidgePro well said. That would mean the Godfather of Data Center Alley (Loudoun County ED) is also the Godfather of the Internet Desert. Credit must be issued all the way around to the Loudoun County ED. When will he bring real high speed broadband access to the Internet Desert in Western Loudoun.

      Soon to be Ex-Supervisor Ron A. Meyer Jr. also tries to take credit for what the capitalist market created like the self proclaimed Godfather of Data Center Alley. Meyer’s arrogance along with the Leftist Supervisors is trying to rebrand Data Center Alley by directing administrative staff and/or appropriate money to rebrand data center alley. Classic government waste. Drain the Loudoun Swamp!!!

  • 2019-12-20 at 8:31 pm
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    A craptastic idea indeed. Turn Loudoun into an eyesore and then try to “brand” your way out of it…

  • 2019-12-21 at 7:09 pm
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    Those aren’t A/C units in the picture. Those are air intakes that has filters.

  • 2019-12-24 at 5:25 am
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    Hmmm. Let’s rename an eyesore so people won’t think it is an eyesore? Not a good use of staff time.

  • 2019-12-24 at 10:36 am
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    How about sponsoring contests for best mural ideas and decorate the sides of the data centers with some financial help from the data center owners? Wouldn’t that be better than a road sign? Maybe our high schools could supply some creativity too. 🙂

    • 2019-12-27 at 2:53 pm
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      LOL! Murals on the side of data centers with financial help (“private funding”) from data center owners. This is not required by zoning and/or building development. Another example of why Bob Ohneiser hasn’t held an elected office in over a decade. Next week we’ll be in a new decade. Your views and policy are remain out of touch!

      Private mural funding should be required on ugly big box retail, all school gymnasiums, and public parking facilities (Metro Rail, Dulles Airport, Loudoun County Government Center garages…). Next the BOS should require that homebuilders and/or residents in Ashburn be required to paint murals on the sides of their McMansions. Seems like a fair public policy!!

  • 2019-12-26 at 4:14 pm
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    Data centers are big, ugly and noisy, but produce a lot of tax revenue for Loudoun County. Your homeowners would be paying much more in taxes without those behemoths, but how does the county “rebrand them?” It’s interesting is how Meyer is doing all these initiatives like the performing arts center a few weeks back, as an outgoing supervisor. Ron — In a week or so, your county email will stop, no more privileges and perks, and the phone will stop ringing. It’s a lonely feeling at first, but then in a few weeks when you realize you do not have to sit through 8 hour meetings and have time with your family, you can always post your remarks on Facebook or on these pages. You’re no good to any of the big money people in Northern Virginia who only warmed up to you for your vote all these years. Welcome to the club of the ex supervisors and former electeds!

  • 2019-12-27 at 12:16 pm
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    Prediction #1! Watch that Ron Meyer’s soon will start backing data center developers, calling himself a site selection expert and will start marketing land sites for data center development. Ron Meyer is SHAM! He has know clue on how to develop a site selection analysis or has ever negotiated a data center transactions (to acquire, develop land or lease colo / cloud space). Neither is Godfather of Data Center Alley (Loudoun County ED) a site selection expert. Of course they both will declared that they created the data center alley ecosystem. Where were they both during the early dot com days? Meyers has only been on BOS since 2015 and pre-2007 the Godfather of Data Center Alley (Loudoun County ED) was a music director at DC101 and 98Rock during the development of data center alley. Simply both are public relations professionals or talking heads (no pun towards the band). Prediction #2. The Godfather of Data Center Alley in 2020 will shift away from data centers.

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