Amazon campus in Bristow

Amazon Data Services Inc. has requested a rezoning and special-use permit for a campus on 59.6 acres between 11479 and 11540 Nokesville Road.

Amazon wants to bring another 900,000 square feet of data centers to western Prince William County.

Amazon Data Services Inc. has requested a rezoning and special-use permit for a campus on 59.6 acres between 11479 and 11540 Nokesville Road.

The company wants to rezone the properties from agricultural use to planned business district and receive a permit to construct the facility outside of the county’s Data Center Opportunity Zone overlay district.

The proposal covers six parcels owned by CBG Land LLC; Mu-Del Properties LLC; VRN Broad Run Overlook LLC; Furman Land LLC; Route 28 Bristow LLC; LCS Land LLC; Pinnacle Real Estate Group LLC; and Carr Land LLC.

Amazon is under contract to purchase the land, which is near the intersection of Nokesville Road and Piper Lane. The collective assessed tax value is about $3.35 million.

The application calls for two 110-foot buildings and an electrical substation covering 3.9 acres. The buildings would be 450,000 square feet each.

The proposal comes with a 50-foot landscape buffer along the property. It also includes open space by leaving a forested area undisturbed. 

The applications come as the data center industry continues to explode in Prince William County, positioning it to challenge Loudoun County as the world’s largest concentration of such facilities.

“The industry has been a welcome source of investment in many communities,” Amazon’s application says. “Data centers create long-term technology jobs and short-term construction jobs.”

Amazon is a big player in the industry in Northern Virginia, with its future Amazon HQ2 planned in Crystal City. The company also has a pending request for a special-use permit, Comprehensive Plan amendment and a rezoning on 77 acres for a data center and accompanying electrical substation near Manassas Mall.

The county is weighing several policy changes that will determine the future of the industry locally. 

Officials are reviewing the Data Center Opportunity Zone overlay district and potentially expanding it along transmission lines. 

As part of the review, the county recently released a report that estimates it could run out of space to meet the industry’s demand by 2035 without land-use changes.

Concurrently, the county is updating its Comprehensive Plan to serve a land-use guide through 2040.

Meanwhile, landowners along Pageland Lane have proposed 27.6 million square feet of data centers on 2,100 acres in what has quickly become the most controversial and contentious local land-use proposal in decades. Opponents and proponents have launched personal attacks against each other, and it has spawned recall efforts against Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland and Board Chair Ann Wheeler.

“More affordable technology and a shift to cloud computing has encouraged more businesses to adopt, and employees to embrace, hybrid work-from-home models. Online retail has fundamentally changed customers’ relationship to traditional retail,” Amazon’s application says. “These changes are likely to stay with us for the foreseeable future, particularly in light of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data centers are a critical component of the new online infrastructure, and land use patterns and demand for real estate have adjusted accordingly.”

 

Nolan Stout covers Prince William County. Reach him at nstout@insidenova.com or @TheNolanStout on Facebook and Twitter.

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(9) comments

FD Moore

Sustainable growth, exploitation of the environment? That's laughable. Take a look at the Linton Hall corridor 30 years ago, and now. What happened to all those trees that were supporting a clean environment? Gone. Did the developers of the homes and neighborhoods, and the county exploit the environment? Do you blame them? No, we the homeowners did by creating the demand for affordable housing in western suburbs. I'm sure the farmers and land owners and other inhabitants of the rural western PW county said the same thing about us as we are saying about the increase of commercial development.

Sustained and responsible development? The data centers, road infrastructures, and public utilities that have and will continue to tear up nature are only doing so to meet the current and expected demands. Again, if you don't want it, stop creating the demand for it. Would you give up your cell phones, Internet and next day packages if if would mean the preservation of nature? I'm not saying I can't wait to see these cement buildings near my home, I simply understand that it's the demand we all put on the infrastructure that creates the need for it. So yes, I take some responsibility for generating the demand for it, as we all should.

Fake Commenter

Take a drive down route 50 to Loudoun County Parkway, then go down old ox road towards Sterling. There are multiple Data centers with 3 substations (+more under construction) underneath the imposing high voltage power lines. Loudoun is littered with data centers and high voltage power lines. It's disgusting.

Not to mention the data centers under construction on route 50 in Lenah Mill. That open air greenspace is forever gone with the drab windowless cement data centers.

Ann Wheeler is fast tracking the destruction of PWC.

Bill Wright

Where does this madness end? Data center mania is out of control, destroying our landscape and leaving our commercial tax base dangerously undiversified. Data centers aren’t the only targeted industry. What else is being squeezed out? We are clearly putting too many eggs in the data center basket and creating a future vulnerability which you can now see playing out in Loudoun.

The Camoin report, recently commissioned by the county, determined the highest level of demand for data centers over the next twenty years is 48 million square feet. The imminent approval of Devlin Technology Park caps a data center development frenzy that has driven Prince William to surpass that mark with data centers already operating or under development.

Now another 900,000 square feet in rural Nokesville? Right on Broad Run and next to Broad Run Linear Park? Is there any place in Prince William NOT deemed suitable for a data center?

How completely idiotic does the 27.6 million square foot Prince William Digital Gateway proposal look now???? Approving that would cause us to blow by the Camoin report ceiling by way more than 50%. This is gross overkill from data center intoxication.

The economic development goals of the county can be more easily and responsibly met by building out the existing data center overlay district and taking a breath. It’s overdue. Give our citizens a break from irresponsible development.

Sacagawea Lax

Spot on, like always...

I think it's particularly noteworthy how a company's name which originates from Earth's most flourishing and in tact biome, is pro deforestation, along with the politicians locally in particular, who have chosen to turn a blind eye to all the long term destruction of the over expansion of the "digital gateway" and are now blinded by all the $$ from their compromise.

FD Moore

You ask, when will it end? When everyone gives up their cell phones, next day package delivery, Netflix and other streaming services, the real estate developers stop building homes, schools, etc., and people stop using banks, retail, and other business that require computers.

It's simple economics. Add a huge population to the region in the last 20 years, who generate demands for cell phone service, Internet, streaming TV, etc., add the retail and business communities to support the exploding infrastructure, and you generate the IT need to service it.

You do realize that the places you shop for your goods, and the land your community lives on, the place where you buy your gas, the roads you use to get to where you need to be, were also all once tress and nature? But we're all ok with that, just not more growth after we move there.

Sacagawea Lax

"You do realize that the places you shop for your goods, and the land your community lives on, the place where you buy your gas, the roads you use to get to where you need to be, were also all once tress and nature? But we're all ok with that, just not more growth after we move there."

The term is sustainable growth and development, not exploitation of the environment and all of it's inhabitants. You can preserve and protect while not overdeveloping and negatively impacting the watershed.

Won't quantum computing make these data centers obsolete at some point?

Bill Wright

Baloney. Such breathtakingly reckless development is not inevitable, and it is not happening anywhere else to this degree. Even Loudoun’s Data Center Alley took much longer to sprout, and with more forethought. Prince William is all slapdash. There are ways to manage growth more thoughtfully.

This abomination is happening before our eyes while irresponsible “leaders” rationalize and equivocate.

John Sebastian

Edge computing is going to render the large data center model obsolete in the next decade or so anyway. Technology is just moving that fast.

The future will be locating data processing as close to the end-user as possible. Think micro data centers co-located at cell towers and in neighborhoods. The number of devices is going to necessitate it.

Clearly these data center owners know something we don't. Maybe they think they can pivot with the times and lease out the space more efficiently, or turn them into distribution centers of some type. If not we're going to be left with the indoor shopping malls of the 21st century.

Will Williams

Not sure how cutting down trees to build cement buildings and parking lots will save the planet. Other than wheeler and her cronies don't know who wants this. I never saw my taxes go down from the others they built.

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