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Data Centers and Back Office Operations

Part of the Alleghany Highlands’ past may hold the key to the region’s future. A former limestone mine could be the natural choice for a data center. Reliable power and low costs add to the advantages.Alleghany Highland Economic Development Corporation data centers

The Alleghany Highlands is a natural choice for data center and back office operations. In fact, nature has provided the area with a unique property that is ideal for data center operations needing a secure location. The region also offers a skilled workforce ready to staff a back office operation or data center.

Data Center Advantages

Data centers seeking a secure location will find it in the Alleghany Highlands. A 38.7-acre former underground limestone mine has been surveyed and studied for use as a data center or document storage facility. Seismic and climatic surveys have been done and indicate favorably low and consistent underground temperatures – 44-45 degrees – and no external vibration concerns. The constant temperature in the mine eliminates the need for chillers and has the potential to cut the company’s electric bill in half.

  • Water and wastewater provided by Alleghany County Public Works, with a water capacity of 900,000 gallons per day.
  • Dominion Virginia Power serves the region and has the capability of providing 50 MW of power to the mine.
  • Dominion offers a balanced, diverse fuel mix consisting of 44 percent coal, 42 percent nuclear and 12 percent natural gas, with the remaining fuel coming from oil, hydro electric and other sources. Rates are 30 percent below the national average.
  • Fiber optic service to the mine will be proved by Lumos. The company can provide multiple entrance cables to the mine. The mine can be served by SONET, Metro Ethernet, or both fiber network topologies. SONET data services available to the mine on the current OC3 ring serving the site are PRI, Ti (1.5Meg) and DS3 (45Meg). This OC3 ring can be upgraded to provide data speeds up to OC192 (10 Gig) if required. Metro Ethernet services (private and shared) that are currently available are 10Meg, 100Meg and 1Gig. Multi 1 Gig service is also available. The ring can be upgraded to provide data speeds up to 10 Gig. For customers requiring multiple higher data speeds, the network can be engineered to use Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology to enable multiple network topologies.
  • Lumos also is in the process of constructing a Fiber-to-the-Premises network throughout the Alleghany Highlands which, when completed in 2013, provide high-speed fiber service to 4,200 homes and 400 businesses.

For more detailed information about the mine, contact Marla Akridge, executive director of the AHEDC.

Who’s Here

  • Faneuil, Inc.: Statewide electronic tolling customer service center on a contract from the Virginia Department of Transportation
  • Lumos: Sales, customer service and technical service
  • Virginia Employment Commission: One of two data entry units in Virginia, keys information for the VEC’s Tax Division and many other field offices throughout the state

Educational Advantages

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College provides customized training for new and expanding companies. It also offers several degree programs to benefit back office and data center staffs: Administrative Support Technology, Business Administration and Information Systems Technology.

The Alleghany Highlands is located midway between the engineering and technology programs at Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia and James Madison University.

Virginia Tech is home to one of the nation’s most respected engineering programs. Its Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, while the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering & Applied Science is the third oldest engineering school at a public university. Between the two, they graduate hundreds of computer and electrical engineers each year, at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. James Madison University’s new School of Engineering admitted its first students in 2008 and will graduate its first class in 2013. JMU’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering program focuses on sustainability and combines traditional technical training with business administration with applied project and group communication skills.

Other Advantages

  • The region is strategically positioned midway along the eastern seaboard on Interstate-64 between Interstates-77 and -81, convenient to airports in Roanoke, Virginia and Lewisburg, West Virginia.
  • Area employers are able to draw on a civilian labor force of more than 72,000 (from two states) within a 45-minute commute. Included in that is the approximately 8,700 underemployed workers.

Available Properties

In addition to the former limestone mine, the Alleghany Highlands offers several properties ideally suited for either back office operations or data centers.

AET Industrial Park

A Unique Property for a Campus of Companies

  • More than 360,000 square feet available: manufacturing, office, data center, warehousing, machine shop and more.
  • Developable acreage includes a water filtration plant capable of producing 5 MGD. Source testing indicates excellent quality, suitable for bottling. Need water link
  • Property is located in a state-designated Enterprise Zone, A Foreign Trade Zone (#238) and a HUB Zone, and is eligible for New Market Tax Credits.
  • Served by municipal utilities, Dominion Virginia Power, Columbia Gas and Lumos Networks (fiber is on site).
  • Zoned M2
  • Rail served by CSX

57 miles to the Roanoke Regional Airport, 34.2 miles to the Greenbrier Valley Airport

1.1 miles to Interstate-64, exit 14

Clifton Forge Industrial Park

A Business Park Developed for Businesses in the Teleservice Sector.

  • Office park with more than 13 acres of level land.
  • Property is located in a state-designated Enterprise Zone.
  • Served by municipal utilities, Dominion Virginia Power, Columbia Gas and Lumos Networks (fiber is on site).
  • Zoned M1

45 miles to the Roanoke regional Airport and 46 miles to the Greenbrier Valley Airport

2 miles to Interstate-64, exit 27

A full list of available properties is here.