€200 million Data Centre Development set for Cork

A planned new €200 million investment into the development of a number of data centres on the outskirts of Cork City is being described as a game changer in Cork’s foreign direct investment (FDI) landscape.


JCD Group, one of Ireland’s leading commercial property companies, have today confirmed their plans to build the data centres as part of the redevelopment of the former Mitsui Denman site in Little Island, Cork. Planning permission is due in a matter of weeks to transform the 32 acre site into a technology campus with over 275,000 sq. ft. of state of the art data centre accommodation.


The development, which will involve upwards of €200 million in investment and create 150 new jobs in Cork to support the data centres, will also lead to hundreds of additional construction jobs during the build phase. While data centres do not normally provide the large job numbers of other investments, they are very significant capital and strategic investments by multinational companies that further cement their ties to a location.


Up until now Dublin has been the location of choice for US multinationals looking to build large-scale data centres, with major investments undertaken since 2008 by IBM, Microsoft, Google and Amazon, involving investment of over €2 billion to date.


However recently there has been a shift away from this trend with both Apple and Facebook announcing their plans for the construction of Hyper scale data centres in Galway and Meath respectively. Two of the reasons believed to be behind their decisions were power constraints in the Dublin market, as well as the difficulty in sourcing suitably large land banks. The power constraints have arisen due to the large number of data centres constructed in Dublin since 2008. Both Eirgrid and IDA Ireland have been actively marketing locations outside of Dublin for this type of investment, and now with this proposed new development in Little Island, it will give Cork the opportunity to compete globally for these strategic investments.


The developers have access to a 60MW electrical grid connection to the adjoining substation in Little Island, for delivery in 2017 which provides enough power to support the proposed data centres while maintaining additional capacity to support future expansion. It is one of the few locations in Europe with access to this scale of electrical connection in this time frame.


Cork has been transformed from a connectivity perspective as a result of Hibernia Network’s landing its newest transatlantic cable in Cork last September, as well as having multiple competitive back haul options to Dublin. Cork can now offer the lowest latency in the EU to the east coast of the US, which is a significant competitive advantage, as well having a proven IT talent pool. There are also significant planned investments by Aurora Telecom and Artic Fibre.


The Hibernia Express Transatlantic Cable (HETC) is a new ultra-low latency submarine cable, spanning 4,600km that links Halifax, Nova Scotia to Slough, England and Cork, Ireland, connecting key centres of trade and commerce in Europe and North America.


Fergus Innes, Regional Vice President of Europe at Hibernia Networks explains The Express cable is the first new generation transatlantic cable system, reducing latency by more than five milliseconds and providing three times the capacity of existing cables. The landing of the Hibernia Express cable in Cork transforms it as a location from a global connectivity perspective. It has been engineered to meet customer demand for fast, high capacity international connectivity solutions to enable split-second financial transactions and efficient access to media rich content and cloud applications.”


A spokesman for JCD added “We are in detailed negotiations with a number of end user clients, as well as co-location operators, and are very encouraged by the level of interest. Subject to receiving satisfactory planning permission we intend commencing site works immediately with a view to delivering the first data centre by mid-2017. Cork is now uniquely placed from a fibre perspective by being able to offer the lowest latency between the US and Europe. Furthermore, the availability of 60MW of power from the adjoining dual supplied Castleview substation will provide excellent power resilience and facilitates speed to market. Cork has an excellent track record for supporting foreign direct investment, being home to some of the world’s largest technology companies. Given that global data centre IP traffic is expected to grow three fold over the next five years, this is a huge growth area and represents a strategic opportunity for both Cork and Ireland.”


Cork Chamber warmly welcomed the planned €200 million data centre development by JCD group for Cork. According to Conor Healy, CEO, Cork Chamber, “The delivery of Tier-I international connectivity to Cork by Hibernia Networks has been a priority focus area for the Chamber in recent years and we are delighted that this key piece of catalytic infrastructure has enabled planned developments such as this, which will add a vital new resource to our already strong enterprise-base while also opening the region up to new sectors operating in cloud based technologies. Cork’s infrastructure will be significantly enhanced as a result of this planned development and will position this region in particular to grow the ICT, financial services and digital sectors for years to come. Data centre provision in Cork is required to underpin the continued growth of the Tech Market and to meet demands, which continue to grow exponentially”.

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