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Hampshire County extends option for $90m data center

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By MARLA PISCIOTTA
For The State Journal

ROMNEY — The economic impact and opportunities from building a data center in Capon Bridge will be extensive, according to officials.

The project could create 200 construction jobs and between 30 to 50 permanent jobs.

Kris Domich, managing director of Global Portfolio Development, recently briefed the Hampshire County Development Authority board on plans for a data center.

Domich's firm has held a two-year option to build the facility at the Capon Bridge Technical Park and asked the board to extend his option.

He told the authority board the original 78,000-square foot facility had been scaled back to 40,000 square feet.

"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, two things were needed: power and fiber optic.

"West Virginia has an abundance of inexpensive power," he said.

Domich also said FirstEnergy has already invested in the project.

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

"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."

He referred to the location as "brilliant," saying it could be isolated if Washington, D.C. was attacked.

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

"The economic opportunities are great. An estimated 200 construction jobs and 30-50 permanent jobs will be available as each of the buildings are built."

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 live and employability of hundreds of West Virginia residents."

Domich said the tech park can support two additional data centers.

"Ninety-six acres are planned for the technical corridor," he said.

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.

After a brief discussion, the Hampshire County Development Authority board extended the option for one year for a fee of $2,500.