February 16, 2018
Data center site owners offer “proffer” compromise
Although county officials have yet to produce tax revenue projections for the proposed Remington Technology Park, Fauquier would receive far more from data centers than from “proffers” tied to a Bealeton subdivision rezoning in 2003, the property owners contend.
We’re hopeful that has addressed questions that people brought up.
— Bob Springer, property owner
Data Center Project
• What: Alberta, Canada-based Point One Holdings Inc. seeks rezoning approval from county board of supervisors for data center campus.
• Where: 234 acres along Lucky Hill Road, just northeast of Remington.
• Property owners: Bill and Bob Springer of Warrenton; VCA LLC of Alexandria.
• Proposed buildings: 6, plus an onsite substation to provide electricity to project.
• Under roof: 1.8 million square feet square feet, with data center structures ranging from 240,000 to 310,000 square feet.
• Estimated investment: $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion.
• Employment: 120 to 180 permanent, full-time jobs; 200 full-time equivalent construction jobs.
• Applications: Request to rezone from residential to “Business Park;” site has approval for 199 home lots and to eliminate $2.7 million in cash proffers for a separate, 197-lot subdivision rezoned in 2003.
• Schedule: An advisory panel to the supervisors, the planning commission will conduct a Feb. 27 public hearing; supervisors, with final authority, expect to conduct a March 8 public hearing.
The owners of the proposed data site near Remington this week offered a compromise to help convince Fauquier’s board of supervisors to approve the potential billion-dollar-plus project.
Fauquier residents Bob and Bill Springer and their partner GGFS/Foxhaven LLC of Alexandria own the 234-acre data center site along Lucky Hill Road just northeast of Remington.
They also own an undeveloped, 197-lot subdivision called Fox Haven at Route 28 and Schoolhouse Road near Bealeton.
The supervisors in 2003 rezoned that property — with a required $2.7-million cash proffer — from agriculture to residential.
But the landowners no longer want to pay Fauquier that amount to help offset the cost of public services that Fox Haven homeowners would require.
As an alternative, they have proposed giving the county at least $605,184.
The landowners offered that option partly in response to concerns that Supervisors Mary Leigh McDaniel (Marshall District) and Rick Gerhardt (Cedar Run) raised during a Feb. 8 work session on the data center project.
The Remington Technology Park’s success depends on the supervisors’ dropping or reducing Fox Haven’s cash proffer, according to the landowners.
That would “allow for the sale of the” data center property “at a price which makes the industrial project economically feasible,” they contend. Alberta, Canada-based Point One Holdings Inc. has a contract to buy the data center site.
Under the revised Fox Haven proffer, the developer would pay Fauquier $14,730 for each of the 197 homes. But, after the county issues occupancy permits “for a minimum of 200,000 square feet of data center space,” the cash proffer would drop to $3,072 per home.
That represents the maximum amount the county could expect to receive under Virginia’s new proffer law, which took effect on July 1, 2016.
The landowners also believe the cash proffer should be reduced because the data center’s local tax payments would far exceed the Fox Haven subdivision’s public service costs to Fauquier.
Additionally, they note that rezoning the data center site from residential to “Business Park” could erase millions of dollars in potential public service costs if the permitted 199 single-family homes got built there.
Ms. McDaniel last week worried that eliminating the Fox Haven proffer might set a dangerous precedent. Mr. Gerhardt asked if the cash proffer could be incrementally eliminated as the data center developed.
He and his partners revised proffers attempt to satisfy those concerns, Bob Springer said.
“We’re hopeful that has addressed questions that people brought up.”
The Springer brothers and their partners also want the proffers changed to allow the construction of up to 66 Fox Haven homes per year — twice the number approved in 2003.
County staff members outlined the latest Fox Haven cash proffer revision Thursday, after a county planning commission work session on the data center project.
Any advisory panel to the supervisors, the commission has no role in the proposed changes to the Fox Haven proffers.
During the work session, the commission discussed:
• Ways to cool the proposed centers, including potentially using effluent from the nearby Remington wastewater treatment plant. For a variety of reasons, including access, availability and state approval, that option seemed improbable.
• Future use of the proposed buildings and site should technology render them obsolete.
• Screening the site from neighboring landowners.
• The need for an emergency access that would cross the railroad track along the site’s western boundary.
Pointe One Holdings Inc. seeks rezoning approval to construct six data center totaling up to 1.8 million square feet. Each building would range from 240,000 to 310,000 square feet.
The commercial real estate developer put the project’s investment at $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion.
The centers should create 120 to 180 high-paying, full-time jobs and up to 200 full-time equivalent construction jobs, according to Point One.
The planning commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday, Feb. 27, on the data center application.
The supervisors, who have final authority, will conduct March 15 public hearings on the data center and Fox Haven applications.
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Bob Bessette · February 16, 2018 at 1:44 pm
Look fairly simple. The site owners want to put $2,290,716 of county dollars into their pocket base on the prospectus of taxes to be paid in the future for their land. The cost of utilities for those 197 homes will not go down because of the Data Center. If anything a tax Break should be given to the data center owner to get them into the county. This will help everyone's taxes in the future in lieu of the few "God Old Boys."
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