Henrico County, a Mid-Atlantic suburban county located in the Richmond, Virginia MSA, is strategically located at the intersection of three key interstates – I-64, I-95, and I-295. Henrico’s diverse economy includes manufacturing, finance, state government offices, corporate headquarters, life sciences, and professional services including IT and data centers.
In order to recruit a semiconductor manufacturer in the mid-1990s, Henrico invested $44 million to develop White Oak Technology Park, a master-planned, publicly-owned industrial park located at the intersection of I-64 and I-295. The 2,270-acre park boasts extensive and robust power, utilities, and transportation infrastructure that is demanded by today’s most advanced manufacturing facilities and data centers. Dominion Energy delivered a networked (dual feed) 230kV transmission system with multiple distribution substations and 34.5kV circuit. Henrico County Department of Utilities delivered a redundant and reliable water and sewer system. The sewer pumping station has 13 MGD pumping capacity and room to grow. There are two feeds coming to the pumping station from two different lines. The Park has the water capacity today to deliver 10 MGD firm with 6 MGD additional water stored on site. With the nearby James River for its source, Henrico has an abundant water supply.
White Oak Semiconductor moved in to White Oak Technology Park in 1998, and through multiple corporate transactions, became Qimonda. Due to intense global competition, Qimonda closed the Henrico semiconductor facility in February 2009, leaving a vacant 1,300,000 square foot plant on 212 acres. Fortuitously, in 2010 Quality Technology Services (QTS) purchased the former Qimonda buildings and land and retrofitted the buildings for data center operations. Today, this facility is known as “QTS’ Richmond data center.” More to follow on QTS.
In 2015 the Henrico County Economic Development Authority (EDA) began to study its competitiveness to attract data centers to White Oak Technology Park. With land costs that are 10% lower than those in Ashburn, Virginia, and the industry’s growing willingness to look outside of Ashburn for data center sites, the EDA believed that we had a great solution to offer. However, we quickly realized that we needed to improve the financial case for our data center prospects. Consequently, Henrico County’s Board of Supervisors voted to lower the tax rate on data centers from $3.50 per $100 to $0.40 per $100 and created an accelerated depreciation schedule for data centers. Our property tax burden is the lowest of the major suburbs in Virginia.