Cumberland Times-News

August 26, 2013

Company asks for extension on proposed Capon Bridge data center

200 construction jobs, 30 to 50 permanent positions expected


— ROMNEY, W.Va. — An official from Cyber Innovation Labs asked the Hampshire County Development Authority last week for an extension on its option to build a data center at Capon Bridge Technical Park.

Kris Domich, managing director of Global Portfolio Development, told the authority board the original 78,000-square-foot facility has been scaled back to 40,000 square feet.

He gave an in-depth PowerPoint presentation regarding the proposed data center and its impact on the area economy.

“We have raised $90 million to build the facility. We’ve had a two-year option, and a lot has happened in the two years,” Domich said.

To build the data center, Domich said, “We need two things. We need power and fiber optic.

“West Virginia has an abundance of inexpensive power.”

He said FirstEnergy Corp. has already invested in the project.

“Fiber optic is as close as Ashburn, Va. We are in a unique position to have both available,” Domich said.

The 40,000-square-foot data facility would encompass 24 acres at the Capon Bridge Tech Park located just off Smokey Hollow Road north of U.S. Route 50.

Domich explained how the building would be set up into four smaller pods. However, he said the building could easily be set up into one or two larger pods, depending on a tenant’s needs.

 “This facility is ideally located to become an extension of the Washington, D.C., market. It’s an excellent disaster recovery location for Washington clients and West Virginia state government,” Domich said.

“The tech park is 87 miles from Washington, D.C., which is outside of a blast zone. It’s not if Washington is attacked, but when.”

Domich said the tech park can support two additional data centers. “Ninety-six acres are planned for the technical corridor.”

He referred to the location as “brilliant” and said it could be isolated if Washington is attacked.

“The economic opportunities are great. An estimated 200 construction jobs and 30 to 50 permanent jobs will be available when each of the buildings are built,” Domich said.

He talked about integration training programs with Hampshire and Morgan counties.

“The presence of a data center will economically impact hotels, restaurants, retail and leisure businesses,” Domich said.

“There is an opportunity here to elevate the quality of life and employability of hundreds of West Virginia residents.”

Domich said his company is working with two Native American tribes that have substantial resources to invest in the data center.

“We have developed 5 million square feet of data centers worldwide,” Domich said.

He named Thrasher Engineering, Morgan County, Iron Mountain, Shockey and FirstEnergy as Cyber partners.

“Once this data center is built every carrier will consider this facility,” Domich said.

And he said there is no reason that data center racks couldn’t be put in area schools.

“Kids would have the ability to learn about data centers. There is no age limit. They don’t have to be 18,” Domich said.

Following the presentation, board president Jason Hicks said he had a better understanding of the project.

After a brief discussion, board member Eileen Johnson, city of Romney administrator, made a motion to extend the Cyber option for one year for a fee of $2,500. The motion was seconded by former board president Lynn McMaster and passed unanimously.

In other business the authority board talked about reviewing its bylaws.

Hicks stressed the importance of all board members attending the meetings.

“These members represent business and areas in the county. The attendance policy is very important. If they aren’t going to participate we need to get rid of them and appoint new members,” Hicks said.

The Hampshire County Development Authority meets the third Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m. at Taggart Hall.