Data centers becoming dominant force in Mesa
It may never rival Silicon Valley, but Mesa is fast becoming Data Center Alley. Several global companies are at various stages of plans to start crunching and storing data in southeast Mesa.
Article originally posted here.
Most people have heard of Google and Apple – RagingWire, not so much.
And many around Mesa have heard Apple already has a sprawling data center and Google is planning an even bigger one around southeast Mesa’s Elliot Technology Corridor, which runs along the north side of Eastmark.
But while the secretive Google is taking its time on a project Mayor John Giles and Mesa City Council were crowing about two years ago, RagingWire is already building along Elliot Road.
“Administrative approval” of plans paved the way for RagingWire/NTT to charge ahead.
In 2019, both companies signed agreements with Mesa. The Google site, set up as its own district with the code name “Project Red Hawk,” is 180 acres on Elliot and Sossaman roads, just west of the tech corridor.
Mesa City Council excitedly approved the “game-changer” Google data center, which a presentation promised would bring the city $150 million in taxes over 25 years.
Council more quietly approved an agreement for RagingWire/NTT to “opt in” to the tech corridor.
In addition to completed projects, two other developments have been approved for the tech corridor, which fast-tracks construction.
Once the opt-in is approved, a project for the most part falls off the radar of public viewing of design plans and approval by boards.
As an SRP application to a state regulatory site for huge transmission lines for Project Red Hawk notes:
“The Elliot Road Technology Corridor has approximately l,000 acres available for development. and stretches along Elliot Road from Signal Butte Road to Hawes Road, approximately one mile from the Project Site. Projects that might have taken up to six months to go through the entitlement process can get approval in as little as a few weeks (City of Mesa, 2019).
“The Elliot Road Technology Corridor. as well as Arizona’s data center tax-incentives. have made the location very desirable for companies to move into the area.”
The presentation notes Apple’s data center and a Niagara bottled water distribution center are also part of the Elliot Road Technology Corridor, “where the city of Mesa is encouraging companies to locate through a streamlined entitlement process and expedited development process.”
The tech corridor zoning, according to a recent city presentation, also provides “the ability for site plans to be reviewed administratively as part of the design review process.”
So it was that RagingWire has been able to move ahead swiftly on its data center, avoiding public meetings and board members’ scrutiny of design plans.
Paul Martin, listed on submissions to the city as the contact for RagingWire Data Centers, did not respond to a phone call and email from the Tribune.
Most recently, Martin submitted “an addenda to the proposed work for a new data center facility for NTT (owner) …. The facility and associated site development will serve as the first facility on the NTT campus.”
RagingWire/NTT’s original proposal was “to develop the 102-acre site into a technology campus comprised of seven data center buildings and an on-site electrical substation. Buildings range in area from 175,000 (square feet) to 229,000 SF and will be two-stories tall.”
The buildings will have computer rooms and “a small office component … The development will be secure and private with access from E. Elliot Road will be limited to RagingWire employees, their customers and approved vendors.”
The first building is well underway, with construction crews putting up the framework for the data center.
The proposal gave no timeline for completion, noting “The multi-phase project will be constructed over time in alignment to market demand.”
According to a “pre-submittal” document from 2019, RagingWire’s Elliot Road campus “will include seven two-story data center buildings totaling more than 1,500,000 gross square feet.
The facility will be owner operated and run 24/7/365.
“Improvements will include an on-site electrical substation provided by SRP to provide reliable power to the data centers, perimeter security, roads, utilities and stormwater management.”
Data centers are big energy users and RagingWire’s plan is no exception:
“One side of each building has an electrical infrastructure yard where transformers, back-up generators and pre-fabricated electrical modules are located. Prefabricated electrical rooms are shipped to the site fully assembled within a prefabricated metal container.”
According to the company’s website, “NTT Global Data Centers Americas was one of the early companies that helped to build what would one day become a multi-billion-dollar global industry – data center colocation.”
“In 2014, RagingWire joined the NTT family of companies. NTT is one of the largest companies in the world with over $100 billion in revenue and 240,000 employees.”
Yet another data center is coming to Eastmark.
Two months ago, Mesa City Council approved an “opt in” agreement for Comarch Data Center.
Comarch plans a relatively modest 32,000 square foot building on 3 acres at 3223 S. Ellsworth Road, a half-mile north of Elliot Road.
According to a memo from City Manager Chris Brady, “The installation of high-capacity utilities along Elliot Road and the presence of Apple’s Global Command Center in the Corridor make this an attractive area for employers and developers in need of ‘shovel ready’ development.”
And, just across the way from RagingWire, Hawk Ventures received an opt-in for the construction of a Digital Realty Data Center.
According to the development agreement, the property is approximately 700 feet north on the northeast corner of East Elliot Road and South Crismon Road.