Shhhh: Leesburg authorizes Microsoft nondisclosure agreement

The Town Council of Leesburg has authorized a nondisclosure agreement between the town and the Microsoft Corporation as the technology giant plans to build a data center in what is now Loudoun County, Virginia.

Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk said the 332 acres of land at the Compass Creek development will be annexed to become part of the town. The land is along the Dulles Greenway, near the intersection with Battlefield Parkway.

Microsoft bought the land for nearly $73 million — approximately $222,000 an acre — in 2018.

Loudoun County’s Department of Economic Development has said more than 70% of the world’s internet traffic passes through Loudoun’s digital infrastructure.

Besides the advantages of its location, the county provides incentives including a 6% sales and use tax exemption on the servers, generators, chillers and server-related equipment.

Data centers are typically nondescript, avoiding signs indicating which company owns them.

Nondisclosure agreements are standard practice as companies contemplate bringing their industry to a community, to avoid tipping off potential competitors.

The NDA will preclude the town and the company from talking about a wide variety of topics related to the project, including water and sewer usage, although that type of information can be compelled in a Freedom of Information Act request.

Data centers require heavy electricity and water resources — in providing data storage, backup and recovery, data management and networking — for technology companies.

The town or Microsoft can terminate the nondisclosure agreement for any reason with a month’s written notice.

Below is a map of the area where the data center will be built.

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