Sentinel Data Centers Buys Massive Parcel in Metro DC

JLL has arranged the sale of the 280-acre Washington Dulles Gateway site in Northern Virginia, working on behalf of a private partnership that had controlled the property for decades.
Washington Dulles Gateway site in Northern Virginia
Washington Dulles Gateway site in Northern Virginia

In an $82.5 million deal, Sentinel Data Centers has purchased the 280-acre Washington Dulles Gateway site in Loudoun County, Va. JLL, which represented the sellers, announced the transaction.

With a reported 140 acres of net developable land, the price per usable acre breaks down to about $589,000. The site was “one of the largest contiguous land parcels being offered fee simple” in metro Washington, D.C., and carries Planned Development – Office Park zoning, according to JLL.

The major part of the property, about 259 acres, sits north of the Dulles Greenway (SR 267), while an additional portion of approximately 23 acres sits south of the Greenway. The site is immediately to the north of where the Loudoun Gateway station on the Washington Metro’s Silver Line extension is slated to open in 2020.

The sellers were identified only as a private partnership. Sentinel did not respond to Commercial Property Executive’s request for information about its plans for the property.

In a prepared statement, JLL Managing Director Mark Levy noted “the significant demand that continues to exist for data center product in Loudoun County” and the role that demand played in the deal.

Seventy percent of the world’s internet activity runs through Loudoun County,” added Jay Taustin, a representative of ownership.

Along with Levy, JLL’s Matthew Gallagher and Jonathan Walk represented the seller. JLL got the assignment in early 2017, evidently with instructions to sell the site in its entirety, if possible.

The transaction marks New York-based Sentinel Data Centers’ second venture in Northern Virginia; the company purchased 65 acres in Loudoun County in 2017.

Sentinel lists two data centers on its website. One is a single-tenant BTS facility in Orangeburg, N.Y., that was delivered in 2014 to a global financial information services company. The 130,000-square-foot facility has 8 MW of capacity. The second is a 40,000-square-foot, single tenant in Memphis, Tenn., that’s occupied by a national colocation provider.

A checkered history

In March 2016, the Washington Business Journal reported that a Fairfax County judge had ordered Christopher Antigone be removed from partnerships that had backed International City, a proposed mixed-use development on the Washington Dulles Gateway site. International City reportedly would have included a convention center, more than 4,000 hotel guestrooms, office space and an entertainment district. 

Antigone, who retained his majority economic interest in the property, was alleged in a suit by the other partners to have, among other misdeeds, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of the companies’ money without the approval of other partners. He reportedly controlled the site for more than 20 years, again according to the publication.

Image courtesy JLL