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February 24, 2021

Data center plan promises millions in tax revenue

The conceptual plan depicts two data centers, totaling up to 450,000 square feet, on 60 acres at Route 28 and Gaskins Lane in Catlett.
Has there been discussion — since there’s a lot of flat roof involved in this — about the possibility of rooftop solar, or maybe capturing the rainwater on the roof? It seems there might be some opportunity, if the developers are so inclined.
— Planning Commissioner Bob Lee (Marshall District)
Work Session
• Topic: Rezoning application for 450,000 square feet of data center use on 60 acres at Route 28 and Gaskins Lane at Catlett.

• When: 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24.

• Agency: Fauquier County Planning Commission.

• Where: Warren Green Building, 10 Hotel St., Warrenton.

• Applicant/property owner: Catlett Station II LLC, Joel Barkman and John Grew.

• Details: Mr. Barkman and Mr. Grew want the site rezoned from industrial to “business park.” Phased over five to seven years, the proposal calls for 450,000 square feet of data center “development,” including two structures and three equipment yards. Construction of the first of two buildings would begin this summer, according to the applicant. Based on Fauquier’s business personal tax rate, $150 million worth of data center equipment would generate $3.45 million in revenue annually, according to the application. The Catlett Data Center Park also would create up to 40 “highly-compensated” on-site jobs.

• Next: The planning commission likely will conduct a March 18 public hearing on the project. The five-member commission serves as an advisory panel to the county board of supervisors, which has final authority.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier’s planning commission on Wednesday had its first discussion about a proposed 450,000-square-foot data center project at Catlett.

Applicant and landowner Catlett Station II LLC seeks rezoning of 60 acres at Route 28 and Gaskins Lane from industrial to “business park district” for the massive project.

Built in phases, the Catlett Data Center Park would generate millions of dollars in tax revenue annually for Fauquier and create dozens of high-paying on-site jobs, according to the application.

During a brief work session Wednesday, county Planning Chief Adam Shellenberger gave the commission an overview of the project.

The planning commission “likely” will conduct a Thursday, March 18, public hearing on the data center rezoning application, Mr. Shellenberger said.

The Catlett Data Center Park concept plan shows two data center structures and three equipment yards.

Recycled water would cool equipment and all new powerlines that would serve the center would be placed underground, Mr. Shellenberger told the commissioners.

Building heights would be limited to 45 feet.

The property’s “primary” vehicle access would be along Route 28, with an emergency driveway on Gaskins lane.

The project would be served by public water and sewer, according to the application.

“Their anticipation is to hook up” to the still-under-construction Catlett-Calverton wastewater treatment system, Mr. Shellenberger said. “They’ve already begun conversations with county administration to do so.”

Planning Commissioner Bob Lee (Marshall District) asked about “green” building features.

“Has there been discussion — since there’s a lot of flat roof involved in this — about the possibility of rooftop solar, or maybe capturing the rainwater on the roof?” Mr. Lee asked. “It seems there might be some opportunity, if the developers are so inclined.”

Mr. Shellenberger said that “high-level conversations” about rainwater collection have occurred, but “they have not committed to that at this point.”

The planning chief added: “I think that would be something they would continue to explore as part of the buildings’ design as well as the site design.”

The applicant has characterized the project as a low-impact, long-term economic boon to Fauquier.

For example, $150 million worth of data center equipment would generate $3.45 million per year in business personal tax alone, according to the applicant.

The data center project also would generate 350 construction jobs and up to 40 high-skill, well-paying on-site jobs, the application states.

The developer hopes to start construction of the first of two buildings this summer; the second would be built after the first gets occupied.

An unnamed “national, well-regarded data center developer” has the property under contract for purchase and “plans to develop the site for a very desirable tenant,” according to the application.

The application also doesn’t identify the tenant.

Landowners Joel Barkman of Catlett John Grew of New Baltimore have signed nondisclosure contracts that prohibit them from discussing the deal.

For that reason, Mr. Barkman declined to comment on the application.

“As an owner, we’re still under a confidentiality agreement,” he wrote in a text.

Mr. Grew did not return a phone message seeking comment.

The planning commission serves as an advisory panel to the county board of supervisors, which has final authority on the application.

Contact Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-0300.


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