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Media - Property Review

Canberra logs on More data firepower in pipeline

Pulished: October 2007, Nicole Lindsay

CANBERRA has scored a $1 billion data centre project.

The specialist technology estate will be pitched at both global financial institutions and government departments which rely on powerful computer technologies.

Melbourne and Sydney could be the next in line.

It's understood a small network of data centres could be on the agenda to help spread the risk load.

The Canberra Technology City (CTC) project is a joint venture development by a consortium consisting of Canberra-based utility ActewAGL, specialist data centre developer Technical Real Estate and a British-based data centre designer Galileo Connect.

Galileo Connect is one of the world's leading data centre developers and has been responsible for more than 1 million sq m in Europe and Britain.

ActewAGL retail general manager Ivan Slavich said the CTC would be built on two sites, at Hume and Belconnen.


The CTC plans involve 20 "next generation" data centres at the main site in Hume with a smaller operation set up at Belconnen with between eight and 10 centres.

The smaller site will provide back-up for users which need failsafe technology.

Technical Real Estate director Bruce McEwen said the project partners had identified an urgent need for purpose-built data centres designed around secure and scalable power infrastructure.

``The exponential growth in computer processing power and subsequent energy requirements are now exceeding the physical limits of existing data centre facilities,'' Mr McEwan said.

``The situation is particularly urgent in areas such as Hong Kong and Singapore where constraints around land, power infrastructure and electricity prices inhibit the development of adequate facilities to support international companies,'' he said.

The consortium will hit the road this week marketing to potential tenants.

CB Richard Ellis agent Mark Jones is handling leasing inquiries.

Mr Jones said Canberra's cool climate made it ideally suited for data centres because the use of free cold air for the roof mounted plant would deliver 10 per cent power efficiency gains.

The specially designed centre will also use liquid carbon dioxide cooling to reduce power consumption by 30 per cent.

The centre will also have its own gas power plant to provide electricity.

TREE is backed by real estate investor and developer Thakral Holdings and includes former CB Richard Ellis chief executive Stephen Ellis among its directors.

Thakral will provide the finance for the initial projects, but will not hold them long-term.

It is expected that a number of data centres could be put into a new investment fund.