DC BLOX has announced the development of a new data center facility in Birmingham, Alabama. DC BLOX plans to use the 27-acre, former Trinity Steel site in downtown Birmingham to develop a technology and innovation campus that will drive the connected digital economy in Birmingham and all of Alabama. This project has the potential to be a $785 million investment over the next 10 years, depending on the success of DC BLOX and Birmingham to attract marquee clients and their employees.
“The significant investment being made by DC BLOX to open this data center in Birmingham will not only create high-paying jobs, but also bring an exciting new chapter to a neighborhood in the city with a long industrial history,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said. “We’re committed to positioning Alabama for a technology-focused future and look forward to working with the company to accelerate that process.”
DC BLOX will deploy the same highly secure, modular design and lean construction techniques currently being used for its Huntsville, AL, data center. Groundbreaking of the multi-tenant facility in Birmingham will begin August 2018 with Phase 1 delivering 31,000 sq ft and configurable up to 5 MW of customer capacity by early 2019. The Birmingham data center will join DC BLOX’s Atlanta, Huntsville, and Chattanooga sites on the company’s high-speed, high-capacity private optical network.
“The Birmingham data center campus will unquestionably be our flagship property, capable of scaling to over 200,000 sq ft of secure, government-grade data center space,” said Jeff Uphues, Chief Executive Officer of DC BLOX. “We believe this site will be a highly compelling alternative in the Southeast to Atlanta for enterprise, hyperscale cloud, Software-as-a-Service, government, network, and content providers. It’s our focus to create a multi-purpose innovation campus with collaborative workspaces worthy of housing global technology companies and academia dedicated to research and collaboration.”
Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington said DC BLOX’s data center will attract future business. “DC BLOX will be a tremendous asset to the existing companies throughout Jefferson County and a tool to attract new companies here,” said Carrington. “This takes Birmingham’s thriving innovation ecosystem beyond its usual physical boundaries of the city center and extends it into an area that will only strengthen our core.”
“The City of Birmingham was proud to work with DC BLOX to bring this significant data center project to Birmingham,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. “In addition to utilizing a long-vacant property in our city and transforming the surrounding neighborhood, this will serve as the company’s flagship data center and a tool to attract further business to the area.”
Since the third quarter of 2017, DC BLOX has been searching for suitable land in Birmingham. “DC BLOX wanted to be in Birmingham because of its strong local economy, geographic location, fiber optic network connectivity and the University of Alabama at Birmingham,” said Mark Masi, COO of DC BLOX. “We are thankful to the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County and the State of Alabama for collaborating with DC BLOX on this project.”
Estimated economic impact of this project during the construction and operational phase is $94 million on the Birmingham metropolitan area, more than $80 million of which will be in Jefferson County, according to an analysis prepared by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Culverhouse College of Business at the University of Alabama and commissioned by the Birmingham Business Alliance. Economic impact on Alabama is estimated to be $99 million.
“Because data centers represent the backbone of the technology infrastructure, we see strategic benefits for Alabama to host state-of-the-art centers that keep the world connected,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “DC BLOX is joining an impressive roster of technology companies selecting Alabama for their data centers, and we want to see that list grow.”
DC BLOX worked closely with the following to finalize the project: Alabama Department of Commerce, Jefferson County Commission, Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority, City of Birmingham and its Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, Titusville Neighborhood Association, Birmingham Industrial Development Board, Alabama Power Co., Spire, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and the Birmingham Business Alliance.
“The $785 million investment over the next 10 years to build this data center technology campus represents the single largest project investment in Jefferson County in many years,” said Lee Smith, East Region CEO for BBVA Compass and 2018 Chairman of the Birmingham Business Alliance. “DC BLOX recognizes the importance of Birmingham’s innovation and technology economy, and they share our vision that having a location near downtown will optimize the company’s growth opportunities. As with any successful economic development project, a great team worked together with the company to ensure its needs are met and that the project is mutually beneficial to the company, community and state.”