Robust growth in the data center market has landed Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) in two new joint ventures, valued at $293 million in total, with Blackstone Real Estate.
The ventures involve eight single-tenant, data center shell properties in Northern Virginia, totaling 1.3 million square feet. Blackstone has already acquired a 90% interest in two properties which were valued at $90 million combined. Blackstone has also signed an agreement to acquire a 90% stake in six other data centers, which are partly owned by COPT.
“These transactions further confirm the value of our portfolio of strategically located data center shell properties,” COPT President and Chief Executive Office Stephen E. Budorick said in a release.
Tyler Henritze, Head of Acquisitions Americas for Blackstone Real Estate, described the acquisitions as an investment in one of the strongest trends currently in commercial real estate.
“We believe data centers will continue to benefit from strong secular tailwinds, including immense demand growth as internet traffic and the use of cloud services continue to rise… We’re trying to think about how the world is changing and getting in front of asset classes and sectors benefitting from those technological shifts,” Henritze said in statements to the media this month. “These transactions are attractive opportunities to invest in high-quality powered shell warehouses in the premier market globally.”
Dubbed “Data Center Alley,” Northern Virginia currently has the world’s largest concentration of data centers with more than 18 million square feet in operation and millions more in planning or construction, according to the Loudoun Virginia Economic Development Association.
Cloud computing, e-commerce and the surge in online retail is fueling data center development and investment in numerous markets. Last month, the infrastructure arm of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to invest $500 million in the industry. In recent months, Blackstone has announced other data center investments, including the purchase of $600 million of U.K. properties from Prologis.