Victoria ranked one of nine data center-ready cities

June 7, 2013 at 1:07 a.m.

A new certification gives the Crossroads a leg up in the world of data centers.

Victoria is one of nine cities certified by American Electric Power as having data center qualified sites, according to a news release issued by consulting firm Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.

Data centers are typically large buildings that store racks of data-processing equipment, said Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp. Companies looking to store their information can transmit via the fiber-optic superhighway, he said, and know that information is secure.

"It's a very clean, high-capital, high-technology industry," he said. "They're becoming very common around the country."

Victoria's site relates to a 200-acre tract of land between U.S. Highway 59 and Vogt Road that the Victoria Economic Development Corp. has under option, Fowler said.

The nine sites were chosen because of their reliable power supply, strong fiber networks, low disaster risks and business-friendly climates, according to the release.

"As the data center industry has grown more sophisticated, the need for a more systematic approach to identifying and qualifying potential data center sites has become evident," Tracey Hyatt Bosman, Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.'s managing director, said in the release. "Data centers require highly specialized service from utilities, and a site qualification program is an important part of a utility's preparedness to respond to industry inquiries."

Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co., along with Sugarloaf Associates, evaluated locations through a three-phase process, analyzing access to long- and short-haul fiber providers, electric costs, vendor/supply networks and more, according to the release, while a third-party engineering company also modeled each site's ability to accommodate a center based on current industry specifications.

The prequalification process offered AEP the chance to understand - and better meet - data center users' needs, Mark James, AEP's vice president of economic and business development, said in the release.

Fowler said the certification is yet another tool the economic development group can use to market Victoria to a specific industry.

"This is AEP's way of helping the communities, as well as helping themselves attract new data center locations to their service territory," Fowler said. "What this may mean to the community is - if successful - a substantial new investment in the community and good-paying jobs."



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