Columbus Quickly Becoming One of the World’s Top Locations for Internet Cloud Operations

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COLUMBUS — October 3, 2017 — The Columbus, Ohio, region is quickly becoming an emerging data center market, according to a new report from CBRE. In the past 10 years, the market has evolved from a location of choice or many corporate enterprise data centers to one of the world’s top locations for internet cloud operations.

The geographic proximity of Columbus to about half of the U.S. population, the resulting lower latency, and the market’s pro-business environment with a favorable tax climate are bolstering the city’s standing as one of the hottest data center markets in the country.

“For years, Columbus has been touting the fact that our location places us within 500 miles of half of the U.S. population. We knew this was good for warehousing and logistics,” said Doug Godard, senior vice president, Data Center Solutions, CBRE. “Columbus is also located within the Golden Triangle – the area between Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago that boasts among the highest concentrations of data in the world.  Columbus’ location, low cost of operation and fiber connectivity within the Golden Triangle is a real advantage for corporations locating their data center or disaster recovery operations.”

Investment Activity

Investment in the U.S. data center sector reached record levels in the first half of 2017, totaling $18.2 billion, already more than double that for all of 2016 (inclusive of all single-asset, portfolio and entity-level/M&A transactions). At this pace, investment in the data center sector is on track to surpass the total for the three previous years combined.

“Over the past five years, more than $45 billion of investment capital has flowed into the data center sector, with more than 50 percent of that total occurring since the start of 2016,” said Pat Lynch, senior managing director, Data Center Solutions, CBRE. “The robust adoption of rapidly evolving, data-intensive technology continues on a strong upward trajectory and will drive growth in the data center sector going forward.” 

Leasing Activity

The U.S.’s seven major data center markets—Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, New York Tri-State Region, Northern Virginia, Phoenix and Silicon Valley—combined saw nearly 88 MW of positive occupancy gains in the first half of 2017.

Following a substantial run of multi-MW leases that contributed to record-levels of net multi-tenant data center absorption in each of the past two years, hyperscale Cloud Service Providers (CSP) were largely on the sidelines in the first half of 2017. New leases in H1 2017 were largely by enterprise users with requirements between 500 kilowatts (kW) to 1 MW.

“With the bulk of CSP-related activity occurring as pre-leasing in new data center projects, it’s not surprising that hyperscale users are temporarily focused on building out and deploying their cloud infrastructure,” said Jeff West, director of data center research, CBRE. “Demand from enterprise users will continue this year as they execute their slow-and-steady migration of IT workloads to cloud and third-party facilities. Meanwhile, all indicators are that requirements from hyperscale CSP users will substantially return.”

Major markets are still favored by both hyperscale CSPs and enterprise users, as well as third-party data center operators—a trend that shows no signs of slowing in the near term. Proximity and access to cloud services, as well as to latency-sensitive interconnection nodes to existing networks, are still the strongest drivers of retail/colocation requirements.

Construction Pipeline

The data center supply pipeline continues to accelerate with nearly 284 MW of wholesale

capacity currently under construction in the primary data center markets—and 46 percent of that space already pre-leased (131 MW). While pre-leasing levels have consistently been in 45 percent-to-65 percent range over the past several years, there has been a shift in the past several quarters towards speculative development as a result of sustained demand for data center services.

“In particular, hyperscale CSPs are more openly sharing their expansion goals with data center

providers to encourage speculative development, as speed-to-market is often a critical factor driving these deployments,” said Mr. Lynch.

Northern Virginia remains the most active development market, with more than 10 new projects (119 MW of wholesale capacity) in the pipeline as of the end of H1 2017. Other markets with significant construction activity include Dallas/Ft. Worth (47 MW), Chicago (41 MW), Silicon Valley (30 MW) and Phoenix (28 MW).


About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2016 revenue). The company has more than 75,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 450 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.

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