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Data center planned for Price Corridor

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Posted: Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:06 pm

A California-based technology firm is building a data center in Chandler to meet the rapidly growing demand for computing, mobile applications and social networking sites.

NextFort Ventures will construct a 130,000-square-foot building in the Price Corridor, a high-tech hub that has been in the spotlight because of the $5 billion Intel Corp. expansion under way there.

The data center will cost $25 million to $30 million and employ about 25 people. NextFort President Mark Towfliq predicted the center will be a magnet for other high-tech firms and that it will indirectly create about 100 jobs.

Companies like NextFort in Chandler’s Price Corridor have served as a magnet in attracting other high-tech firms all across the Valley, said Barry Broome, president of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

“It’s probably the most impressive high-tech corridor … in the Mountain West region,” Broome said.

The data center will house about 200,000 servers and will be the first of its kind for the high-density applications there, Towfliq said. The center will consume about 600 watts per foot — about six times as much as a standard facility. That would also mean dramatically higher energy and air conditioning demands, but the data center’s design will reduce energy use by about 40 percent. The center will simply use outside air most of the year to cool the heat-generating servers.

“Most of the time, believe it or not, the outside air is just perfect,” Towfliq said.

Once the building’s shell is complete, NextFort will construct self-contained suites for each user that provide greater security than standard designs while providing more flexibility. That approach helps make the facility much more efficient, Twofliq said.

“Our project is not your typical data center,” he said. “On the outside it looks just like a traditional building, but inside it’s different.”

NextFort scouted several western states for a location before choosing Chandler for its access to inexpensive electricity and its proximity to fiber optic lines. Towfliq said other positives include an educated workforce and lack of natural disasters.

The NextFort facility, 2600 W. Germann Road, is estimated to be the city’s fifth data center.

Chandler expects NextFort will draw other employers to the area because high-tech companies like being close to data centers, said Christine Mackay, the city’s economic development director.

NextFort’s efficiency plans include providing 20 percent of its energy use from on-site solar panels and purchasing clean energy from other sources.

Broome said NextFort’s energy efficient features will set a standard for other companies and improve the region’s reputation for sustainability. GPEC recently spoke with executives with eBay and PayPal, who said their future projects place a high priority on the environment.

“All of the great tech companies are looking for renewable energy sources and are looking to lower their carbon footprint,” Broome said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6548 or ggroff@evtrib.com

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