H&M Gudelsky Asset Management LLC sells to Amazon

H&M Gudelsky Asset Management LLC sold 100 acres of land in Chantilly for $73 million to Amazon Data Services.

The Loudoun County Planning Commission unanimously recommended Tuesday that Amazon’s latest data center project in the county be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

As previously reported, Amazon Web Services is proposing to build 1.75 million square feet more of data center space in Loudoun County, according to county records.

Blue Ridge Group LLC, which is acting on behalf of Amazon, is seeking approval to rezone 100.18 acres at its Chantilly site from Mineral Resource/Heavy Industry to Planned Development-General Industry. The property at 25020 Willard Road was part of a $73 million land deal in late 2020.

The applicant is also seeking approval to increase the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from 0.4 to 0.6, thereby increasing the square footage of the project.

“It is the perfect place for a data center,” said Dulles Commissioner Jeff Salmon, who made the motion to forward the item to the board with a recommendation for approval.

He added that the proposed center’s location is near similar commercial establishments and away from retail businesses and residences.

Under current zoning, the site could be developed with more than 3.2 million square feet of by-right flex mineral extraction, processing and other industrial uses.

The land parcel is surrounded by Dulles International Airport to the north, Chantilly Crushed Stone quarry to the west and industrial uses to the immediate south and east, including the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Firing Range and a mulch stockpile along Williard Road. The site also has several wetlands around the property.

The Washington Business Journal first reported that H&M Gudelsky Asset Management LLC sold the land, which was assessed at nearly $3.5 million, shortly before Christmas.

Loudoun County is home to more than 70 data centers, with most of them falling in the Ashburn corridor that has become known as “Data Center Alley.”

(29) comments

Topdog1

Here’s an idea. For anyone opposed to these datacenters, turn off your computers, smartphones, tablets, streaming services on your tv’s, etc. Then throw out all your credit cards, ATM cards, gift cards, close your bank accounts, utility accounts, loan accounts, etc. Then you will start to realize all the things that rely on these facilities 24/7. Otherwise, quit whining, appreciate the conveniences you have and do something productive with your life

jbsets

AWS data centers have nothing to do with cable, internet, wifi, or cell reception. They house the clouds where we store our data. The majority of the centers in Loudoun are being used by or leased to companies from all over the country to house their clouds. AWS has clouds up the ying yang that they use for themselves and their customers. They also lease whole centers to the federal government.

I've lived in Loudoun for more than 14 years but we only got cable in our neighborhood 5 years ago. No cable company would come out to use because there wasn't enough development for them. When Luck Stone expanded and took back land they had been leasing to farmers and two farmers sold to developers, there was enough settlement to justify them coming to the area. For 9 years we were stuck with satellite TV, Verizon landlines (needed because cell service was spotty in 2006 and without cable, internet was a problem. Had dial up for the first year we were there), and later Hughesnet unless you could afford a T-1 line for internet. Verizon was a nightmare. The phones went out every time their was s big rain storm. They admitted it was because there was a crack in the big green box where all the cards and controller are. The box would flood and short out all the cards. Verizon's solution was to put a big tent with the Verizon swoosh on it over the box. That was lovely. When Comcast finally came, Verizon finally fixed the box and the tent went away. Too late. The horses had left the barn and headed to Comcast!

All these complaints about cable, TV, cell towers, Verizon lines, etc., are irrelevant to this discussion since data centers having nothing to do with those things.

What is annoying:

The centers are UGLY. Some of them looked like federal penitentiaries with all the spiked fences, electrical wires, heavy duty gates. Those usually house government data & clouds.

AWS doesn't usually pay any taxes. That's generally the deal that they make to put anything to do with Amazon anywhere. (There's a reason why Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world.)

They take up a lot of space, but don't employ a lot of people. Usually the reason to give them a good deal on taxes is because they will employ a lot of county/state people. That's the trade off. These data centers run 24/7 with 3 shifts per day. The average TOTAL number of employees needed to run an average size data center is LESS THAN 100. Smaller ones employ fewer and larger ones, a few more.

What is Loudoun getting out of building all of these centers?

SLOTerp

The value of that parcel skyrocketed this year with a corresponding increase in property tax (public record: https://loudounportal.com/taxes?pin=096183161000). Someone paid a quarter of a million dollars of property tax in June with another quarter million due in December. Looks like they're paying taxes to me.

mopar19

They pay taxes on all of the hardware inside. Paying more taxes in loudoun then any other entity. Thus keeping our taxes from going through the roof paying for the school system and every other social service. Google it.

amerigirl

Loudoun is making a lot of money in taxes on them. Not only do they pay taxes but they keep traffic out of Loudoun which would be generate dd if this were another type of business of housing development.

Stepup

Loudoun is getting considerable tax revenue from data centers without the burden of traffic and school attendance growth that comes with other commercial or residential development.

Those that want more or different can choose to purchase the property and do what they want.

Bud

Someday western Loudoun residents will have broadband internet access and they'll be able to access all of these new data centers.

LoudounPulse

Not until Western Loudoun rezones to allow more people so that laying fiber optic cable is profitable. Nobody is going to spend millions so that 5 homes have broadband access. What you should be calling for is a Cell Tower near your property so you can use a hotspot device for wifi.

ace10

Verizon won't connect to homes in front of which their fiber passes. And elected officials won't hold VZ's feet to the fire.

amerigirl

Verizon doesn't work for the BOS so they can't force them to do anything, they need to find some type of deal to make it look like it is worth the effort.

bs3

I live in Round Hill in a home built in 2002 that has Fios. Of course the rural areas do not and will not have fiber unless density increase, but many of those in the rural areas do not want that. For everyone else, all of that work being done on Colonial Hwy through Purcellville to Rt 7 in Round Hill - they were laying fiber. It is coming - just takes some time.

Lawman

Get a dish or move

mopar19

Agree.

margegeneverra

Current satellite offerings are not very good. New low-orbit satellite systems, such as Starlink, will soon provide affordable and functional broadband access for all areas. This will disrupt the market monopolies currently held by the big providers. (This is unless the big guys can convince the FCC to throw up roadblocks). Telcos may respond by opening up cell-based internet access without data caps. Until than, western Loudouners will lag behind 3rd world countries in broadband. Any hope for wired service died years ago when the BOS signed contracts that allowed Comcast and Verizon to cherry-pick and only wire the most profitable areas.

LoudounPulse

Good. The more Data Centers, the better. I'd rather see a data center than office buildings with thousands of workers clogging the roads to get to work here everyday. DCs are also better than homes or industrial complexes. I'm amazed somebody cited environmental concerns vs. what the alternatives would actual cause to the environment. Data Centers are a blessing for Loudoun and actually their aesthetic designs are looking much better these days. Gone are the ugly concrete walls. The newer designs have the appearance of a 2/3-story office building with windows and grand entrances. Take a drive around Loudoun County Parkway and Waxpool Road and you'll see the new data center designs.

JustMeOverHere

I do agree that using the space for zero occupancy buildings is better than dense human population. But again, what happens when data centers are yesterday’s long forgotten shiny objects? How about instead of building anything we leave the trees and dirt alone?

loudoun fan

The land will be redeveloped. In the mean time, we generate $300,000,000 in tax revenue from them. They are simple buildings. They will come down easily in 25, 35, 50 or whenever years and we'll find something new to put in their place. If you don't want to build anything, you are free to acquire the land and leave it trees and dirt.

Marys5000

Is not that the place that was not recommended for building due to ruined streams and rivers? All of the wildlife and nature will suffer. We need more national parks and trails to spend time outdoors, especially now when we can only be outdoor.

JustMeOverHere

What will become of these monstrosities when the next tech invention renders data centers obsolete? 25-50 years from now most of these buildings will be empty...

Hodor

I'm sure we can just repurpose it as a correctional facility at the rate were going.

Duncan Idaho

Yes, the Trump crime syndicate is going to need a lot of jail space.

amerigirl

What?? Loudoun has one of the lowest crime stats in the US.

TruckerChik

Low income housing.

ace10

Just as many counties in southern Virginia gleefully welcomed mega-landfills two decades ago, so too has Loudoun with these data landfills.

Zero diversification leads to extreme risk. And Loudoun is falling into an obvious trap. Albeit a slowly developing one.

amerigirl

or they could be collecting taxes on structures that wouldn't have been there before. It has gotten pretty massive though.

BobOhneiserEsq

Excellent deal - no students generated. Now will Assessment be based on what the market value is for the property and building or do we have to look for a political campaign check being cleared? :-)

jbsets

AWS does NOT pay taxes. That's the deal Amazon makes wherever they build. Unlike HQ in Crystal City that will employ hundreds, data centers don't need many people to run and maintain them. Data centers hold data. They don't provide services to us as individuals. Some of these facilities house the clouds where we store our data, but the majority store data and clouds for corporations and the federal government. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that this one is meant primarily for government contracts.

loudoun fan

Huh? Yes they do pay taxes. They may pay little to no federal taxes but they pay local property taxes up the wazzu.

livinloudoun

@jbsets - While AWS gets federal tax breaks, they absolutely DO pay county personal property taxes on every single server inside those buildings. In fact, AWS is one of the County's largest taxpayers. Google "Loudoun AWS data center taxes" and you will find some good articles about the economic benefits of data centers in Loudoun.

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