Data Centers Are a Growing, Lucrative Business Cluster for Richardson

Cloud Computing is an industry buzzword that also describes a growing business technology cluster in Richardson. The city is currently host to nine company or operator owned data centers, with five more planned or under construction. Among the largest Richardson data centers are:

  1. The Cisco facility, located in a 240,000 square foot building off Renner Road
  2. a Bank of America data center on Telecom Parkway
  3. The new Digital Realty Trust 108,336-square-foot data center in the repurposed "Building 401" - the first telecom building that Arthur Collins built in 1957 in a city that later became known as the Telecom Corridor®.

Last fall, one of the largest privately-owned data center collocation operators in the U.S. purchased an 85,000 square foot, former Hewlett-Packard building at 3000 Waterview. Plans were to spend millions on its conversion to a data center. A project announcement and grand opening is slated for April. Last month, a recently-completed $25 million, 20,000 square foot ‘spec” data center at 3300 Essex Drive, developed by Stream Realty, was leased in its entirety to a healthcare group.
Data centers are just one of three layers in the cloud. The others are software applications and services. There are dozens of Richardson software and IT companies in the latter groups, but from an economic development perspective, data centers have the greatest appeal to a municipality. Besides their assured long-term presence, data centers generate a potent triple stream of city revenues in the form of property taxes on very high-value server equipment, along with sales taxes and franchise fees on electrical usage. There are few other development types that could approach data centers in the amount of per-square-foot revenue they flow to a municipal government. Data centers are unobtrusive, well-maintained, secure facilities that can work just as well next to a residential neighborhood as within a business or industrial park. While data centers do not create many direct jobs, they do enable employers, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to operate more efficiently and profitably, and thus be better positioned to grow their workforces.
As Richardson's technology-based economic continues to evolve, data centers will no doubt play an important and ever increasing role. Even so, no one is ready, quite yet, to proclaim Richardson the “Telecom Cloud”.

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