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  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    [EN] Florida entra na disputa para sediar data centers

    The elimination of sales tax and use tax for data centers, infrastructure, equipment, personal property, and electricity is intended to jump-start new large-scale wholesale data center development in the Sunshine State.

    Florida still has challenges to overcome in attracting massive data centers that could benefit from the new legislation, including: frequent lightning storms, hurricanes, and a harsh climate which requires robust HVAC systems to deal with sensible (heat) and latent (humidity) loads.

    Bill Stoller
    May 30, 2017

    Florida officially put out the welcome mat for wholesale data center developments with a “critical IT load” of 15MW and larger which meet specific requirements discussed below.

    Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the 2017-2018 budget bill for the fiscal year which begins on July 1, 2107. This massive bill contains a provision which could become a game changer for certain data center requirements.

    The elimination of sales tax and use tax for data centers, infrastructure, equipment, personal property, and electricity is intended to jump-start new large-scale wholesale data center development in the Sunshine State and marks its official entry into the data center derby.

    The Inside Scoop

    Data Center Knowledge spoke with Lee Kestler last week immediately following the signing of the budget bill. Kestler is a long-time data center industry professional and former business development executive at DuPont Fabros Technology. He is currently a principal at Leesburg, Virginia-based Kopend Ventures. Kestler worked closely with CyberXperts principal Todd Weller on behalf of a small group of clients to help shepherd this provision through the Florida legislature after a similar effort failed last year.

    Kestler and Weller were engaged as subject matter experts “to expand the level of understanding for legislators on the benefits other areas of the country have realized by encouraging large-scale data center campuses.” Given the massive size of the Florida budget bill, if you weren’t part of the process as a consultant, lobbyist, or scrivener, it would be easy to miss this noteworthy development.

    Sales Tax Exemption

    Here are a few highlights from the new legislation:

    • A minimum “cumulative capital investment” after July 1, 2017 for acquiring, constructing, equipping or expanding a data center of $150 million or greater. Landlords have until June 30, 2022 to put a data center into service to take advantage of the tax exemption.
    • Must have a critical IT load of 15MW or higher and a critical IT load of 1MW or higher dedicated to each individual owner or tenant within the data center.
    • “Data center is one or more contiguous parcels in this state, along with the buildings, substations and other infrastructure, fixtures, and personal property located on the parcels.” “The term also includes electricity used exclusively at a data center.”
    • “However, the term does not include any expenses incurred in the acquisition of improved real property operating as a data center at the time of acquisition or within 6 months before the acquisition.”

    The legislation creating the data center sales and use tax exemption requires a periodic review by the Florida Department of Revenue to assure continued qualification. It also contains a “claw back” provision, if the letter of the law is not met in its entirety.

    Additionally, if you already own and operate a wholesale data center in Florida, you could now be at a competitive disadvantage. The ability to attract and retain existing tenants drawing 1MW or greater “critical IT load” could be negatively impacted going forward.

    Custom Power Rates

    Of course, the cost of power is crucial to the total cost of ownership for large data centers.

    There were other interested parties working on behalf of this sales and use tax exemption, including Crystal Stiles an economic development executive with Juno Beach-based Florida Power and Light, according to Kestler. A recent tool in the Florida regulated electric utility arsenal to help attract a large industrial customer (minimum of 2MW), would be to enter into a CISR, or commercial/industrial service rider agreement.

    Beginning in 2014, this regulated investor owned utility obtained approval to offer a CISR rate to help attract large customers with suitable load profiles. These sought-after customers can create a win/win situation, with a large stable electrical load helping the utility maintain the rate structures of smaller users at affordable rates.

    Bottom Line

    There are many regions of the country that have had tremendous success with public/private partnerships to encourage the development of data centers.

    Data centers developed in rural areas burdened with agricultural tax exemptions can help grow a commercial real estate tax base to boost local budgets. These data centers do not require significant investments in local schools, roads, and parks in return for the entitlement to develop. They also have state-of-the-art security and fire suppression systems which help limit the impact on fire and police resources.

    The Florida legislature and governor have now taken a crucial step to make the Sunshine State more competitive. However, it isn’t a silver bullet. Notably, the Florida legislature removed economic incentives from Enterprise Florida, which only received $16 million in funding in this latest budget.

    Florida still has challenges to overcome in attracting massive data centers that could benefit from the new legislation, including: frequent lightning storms, hurricanes, and a harsh climate which requires robust HVAC systems to deal with sensible (heat) and latent (humidity) loads. There remains plenty of heavy lifting for the Florida peninsula to compete with greater-Atlanta, North Carolina, and others to land large regional data center requirements.

    Here is a link to the relevant Florida legislation. The data center sales and use tax exemption language begins on line 1299.

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010
    QTS sees big opportunities for Henrico (VA) data center with new tax rate, trans-Atlantic cable

    May 6, 2017

    The world’s seemingly insatiable appetite for digital information means demand is growing for space to store and process the data that flow through computers, smartphones and, perhaps soon, autonomous automobiles.

    That’s good news for QTS, the Overland Park, Kan.-based company that operates 25 data centers in the U.S. and overseas, including a massive complex in eastern Henrico County that formerly was used to manufacture the same kinds of computer components that now create the data stored there.

    In the seven years since QTS acquired the former Qimonda semiconductor plant in the White Oak Technology Park, the company has been steadily outfitting the 1.5 million-square-foot complex as one of its “mega” data centers. The site has attracted about 100 customers who lease space inside the heavily secured site to house computer servers and process vast amounts of digital information.

    The identities of those customers are kept confidential, but it’s a safe bet that they include some giants of commerce.

    This is the next American railroad,” said Brian Johnston, QTS’ chief technology officer.

    “When you think about what the railroad meant to the United States a hundred years ago — raw materials coming in from the mines and fields, going to the factories and being turned into products and sent back out — it is the same kind of thing with data centers.”

    “It is the economy of tomorrow,” he said.

    After Qimonda closed the computer chip plant in 2009, costing more than 2,000 people their jobs, QTS grabbed up the property in a bankruptcy court auction the next year. The site — about 4 miles east of Richmond International Airport — was ideally suited for a data center because of its existing infrastructure, including an on-site Dominion Virginia Power substation that provides it with 110 megawatts of power, with the capacity to double that in the future.

    Data centers require a lot of power, and QTS’ newest phase of development at the Henrico site is to create a “hyperscale” data center to serve customers in fast-growing digital industries that need to scale up quickly with higher storage capacity and more power.

    QTS officials say some recent developments — such as Henrico’s decision to cut its property tax rate for data centers — will make the site even more attractive to customers.

    Situated on 110 acres with an additional 100 acres available for future development, the QTS facility has about 550,000 square feet of data center space in three buildings that were formerly semiconductor fabricators.

    QTS has fully outfitted one of the buildings, a 150,000-square-foot facility at the center of the complex that is now nearly 90 percent occupied by customers. Some of those customers have private rooms in the building where their servers are stored, and some of them occupy co-location rooms with multiple customers.

    “We continue to get new customers,” said Kevin Snead, the site director for QTS’ center in Henrico. “The beauty of what we have here is that we are seeing a whole variety of customers, everybody from small, mom-and-pop companies ... up to these large international companies that need their own private data center space.”

    The newest phase of development is in a second building, adjacent to the first one, with 200,000 square feet of data center space.

    That’s where QTS is opening its first hyperscale data center in Henrico. Another 200,000-square-foot building is slated for future development.

    The meaning of “hyperscale” is somewhat fluid, but it encompasses the kind of rapidly-evolving data processing and storage needed by such enterprises as social media companies, Johnston and Snead said.

    Asked what is driving the need for hyperscale, Johnston said, “It is you.”

    “Think of what you do with your phone everyday, just using GPS to get where you need to go,” he said. “Think of all the other things you do with your phone or TV in an hour.”

    The first fully outfitted hyperscale unit at the center is a 30,000-square-foot room on the first floor that has the appearance of a setting from a science fiction movie.

    It offers six megawatts of power and 100-ton refrigeration units that circulate air through elevated floors to the ceiling, to cool the thousands of servers that will eventually fill the room, lined up tightly in rows of 7-foot-tall racks.

    On the second floor, an 80,000-square-foot room also has been equipped as a “power shell” for hyperscale computing.

    “With all of this (infrastructure) here, we can build data center product so much faster than having to build it out of the ground,” Johnston said. For hyperscale customers, “one of the most important things to them is speed — speed to market, speed to capacity — they are all about speed.”

    The data center must always be “on” for customers, he said. “It cannot fail,” he said. “You cannot have bank statements going down; you cannot have gaming platforms disappearing; you cannot have search engines going away, and nobody wants buffering on their Netflix — it has always got to be available.”

    Access to the data center rooms is tightly controlled.

    Not only is the entire facility surrounded by an electrified fence, but visitors to the site must pass through two security checkpoints. Access to the rooms where servers are stored requires a security badge and a biometric finger scan. An eye scan is required for access to some areas.

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