Planned Virginia Beach data center to restart construction in 2021

·3 min read

Construction on the first phase of a long-planned Virginia Beach data center should start up again this year, according to project leaders.

Alberta, Canada-based data center developer PointOne is now soliciting tenants for NAP of Virginia Beach — a 10.7-acre data center and cable landing station campus — as it moves forward on the first of two planned 39,530-square-foot data center buildings. The project at Corporate Landing Business Park was originally announced in late 2018 with the intent of finishing the first phase in late 2019.

Colin Clish, PointOne chief operating officer, said design, permitting and even site foundation work has already started at NAP of Virginia Beach. (NAP stands for Network Access Point). The process was paused when around 10-12 months of work remained for crews because some clients moved back their timetables for occupying the space due to the coronavirus pandemic, said facility general manager Kelly Newman.

“We needed to get our facility to a place where it could be delivered quickly,” Clish said.

The company is waiting to secure agreements with what Clish calls primary anchor customers before finishing construction. They still need to be able to customize the facility to some degree based on those companies, Clish explained.

PointOne will spend around $60 million in total on the first phase of the project, which includes the first of two planned data center buildings and a subsea cable access point, Clish said. He expected the first phase to create around 30 positions with an average yearly salary of $65,000.

The project’s connection point links to a trio of high-speed subsea cables, including the MAREA and BRUSA cables and Google’s new Dunant cable. The latter became ready for service in February and connects Virginia Beach with France.

A fourth cable called Confluence-1 will span from the New York City area to near Miami, Florida, with branch lines to Virginia Beach, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Jacksonville Beach, Florida. It has not been decided whether Confluence-1 will connect to the PointOne facility, Newman said.

The cables are a major reason why PointOne is investing in Virginia Beach, Clish said. Major data centers in Northern Virginia, including several planned PointOne facilities, can connect to Europe and South America through the network.

The typical data center customers are large cloud computing companies like Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft, but Clish said PointOne is targeting local businesses and Department of Defense-related organizations for the Virginia Beach location. For example, instead of having servers in its own offices, a company could place them in a facility with better security and protection from power outages and extreme weather. The company plans to build a sensitive, compartmented information facility, like the Situation Room in the White House, for defense clients.

“Security is huge,” Newman said. PointOne will have a gate around the perimeter of the campus and security guards.

The company will also be offering international high-speed internet service out of the facility for clients who need connections to the United Kingdom or Germany, Newman said.

Tenants bring their own servers and equipment to their leased space at the facility, Newman said. Companies pay PointOne a one-time fee of $1,500 to $3,000 and monthly costs ranging from $500 to $1,150. Newman said tenants also pay power costs based on their usage.

The pandemic has both helped and impeded business at data centers, Clish said. On one hand, demand has accelerated as companies and individuals have been forced to work and learn from home. However, he said some businesses early in the pandemic held off on buying space due to the uncertainty surrounding returning to normal operations.

Trevor Metcalfe, 757-222-5345,

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