Iron Mountain expands Manassas data farm

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe addresses attendees at Iron Mountain’s Manassas data center opening ceremony in 2017. (Courtesy of Iron Mountain)

Boston-based data center operator Iron Mountain Inc. — which opened the first phase of its data center campus in Manassas, Virginia, in 2017 — has begun construction on phase two, called VA-2,

When fully built, including a phase three, Iron Mountain will have invested more than $350 million in the Manassas campus. VA-1 represented a $100 million initial investment. VA-2 represents an incremental $225 million when fully built out, according to Iron Mountain.

Nearly 100 of Iron Mountain’s customers and vendors currently work out of the phase one building. Another 50 will work in phase two.

Data centers are physically huge facilities, but don’t necessarily employ a large number of people. The jobs they do create are generally high-paying jobs, averaging $100,000 in Iron Mountain’s case, and are mostly engineers and cybersecurity gatekeepers.

“We are excited to be expanding our presence in the largest data center market in the world, and at the same time continuing our commitment to economic development in the dynamic Prince William County,” said Mark Kidd, executive vice president and general manager of Iron Mountain data centers.

The first phase of VA-2 will be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

The 83-acre Manassas campus is Iron Mountain’s first facility in Northern Virginia and its fifth U.S. data center market, in addition to facilities in Boston, Denver, Kansas City and western Pennsylvania.

Iron Mountain has a total of more than 1,450 facilities in 50 countries.

Northern Virginia’s data center demand has soared, largely because of inexpensive energy costs, geographic location and tax breaks on computer equipment.

Real estate firm JLL says the data center market in Northern Virginia is the largest in the U.S., with about a third of the nation’s market share.

In addition to commercial customers, Northern Virginia’s data center customers include the United States government, the largest content generator in the world.

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