DC BLOX to Invest $785M in AL Data Center

The company will break ground next month on a facility estimated to have a statewide economic impact of $99 million. The campus will be scalable up to 200,000 square feet.
Rendering of DC BLOXs Birmingham Data Center
Rendering of DC BLOX’s Birmingham Data Center

DC BLOX has chosen a 27-acre site in Birmingham, Ala., for its newest data center campus. Construction will begin next month on what will be the company’s flagship property and its second facility in the state. DC BLOX is committed to invest approximately $785 million over the next 10-year period in the campus.

After talks with local government authorities in the search for a proper location, DC BLOX set its sights on the former Trinity Steel site, at 600 S. Fourth Ave. in downtown Birmingham. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the area is classified as a brownfield property, meaning the development process will include environmental remediation and regular testing after its completion.

The first phase of development is slated for an early 2019 completion, delivering an initial 31,000 square feet and 5 megawatts. Eventually, the campus will be scalable to more than 200,000 square feet of IT space, according to demand. DC BLOX currently has another data center under construction in Huntsville, Ala., and will apply the same principles to the Birmingham project. Specifically, the data center will be constructed with N+1 redundancy and robust security features, including multifactor access, Controlled Unclassified Information standards and 24/7 CCTV manned surveillance.

The Birmingham data center campus will unquestionably be our flagship property. 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,” said Jeff Uphues, CEO of DC BLOX, in prepared remarks.

Edge markets

Both Alabama locations will be carrier-neutral facilities, with the company hoping to cater to and enhance the emergent IT sector in Jefferson County. The sites will be interconnected via dark fiber to the company’s growing footprint, which currently includes two other facilities, in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Atlanta. Further down the road, DC BLOX has plans to expand in eight states across the East Coast and southern regions of the U.S., with a total of 15 additional future locations.

The project is estimated to have an initial economic impact of more than $80 million for Jefferson County and approximately $99 million for Alabama, according to an analysis carried out by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Culverhouse College of Business at University of Alabama.

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. We’re committed to positioning Alabama for a technology-focused future an look forward to working with the company to accelerating that process,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, in a prepared statement.

Alabama is among a growing number of states which currently have tax incentives for data center developers and operators. To qualify for the sales and use tax abatement, DC BLOX will have to create at least 20 new high-paying jobs (with an annual salary of at least $40,000 plus benefits), along with a $400 million investment, according to DatacenterDynamics. The tax abatement period can reach up to 30 years.

Rendering courtesy of DC BLOX