2 Huge Texas Small Town Data Center Projects

A massive new data center project in Temple, Texas, is likely to begin construction this year after city officials grant developers major zoning approval.


A view of Rowan Green Data’s project in Temple, Texas.

Temple City Council last week approved a zoning plan that will allow developer Rowan Green Data to build at least 135,000 SF of data center space on a 162-acre lot. The project is ultimately planned for up to 500 megawatts of data center capacity.

The small town of Bell County, which is located about halfway between Austin and Waco, has a population of about 82,000. It has also been eyed by social media giant Meta for the past month for a 393-acre hyperscale data center campus.

The two developments will be a major injection of inventory into the Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin data center markets. Despite low energy costs across Texas, the two markets, with a combined supply of 770.5 MW, only had 28 megawatts under construction at the end of 2021, according to a JLL report. The company attributed the low level to a lack of development-ready land following a boom in industrial construction in 2021.

Rowan, a joint venture between renewable energy investment fund Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners and data center energy consultancy Birch Infrastructure, said in filings with the city that it expects the first phase of the project to be operational in 2023.

“We are excited that Rowan is expanding Green Data into Temple,” said Adrian Cannady, president and CEO of Temple Economic Development Corp., after the project was first announced in October. “Rowan is a welcome addition to our emerging technology sector.”

According to Rowan’s files with city planning authorities, the company plans to first develop 33 acres of the 162 acres of former farmland approved for data centers. This first phase will carry a maximum capacity of 200 MW. But Rowan also has a development option that will allow the joint venture to build an additional 300 megawatts on the site’s remaining 142 acres at a later date.

The company’s economic development agreement with the city stipulates that Rowan must begin construction within 12 months, invest at least $225 million in the project, and build water and wastewater infrastructure to support the facility. The city agreed to reimburse Rowan nearly $5 million for the required water projects. The city council will discuss a tax relief plan for the hyperscale campus in May.

While Rowan has not yet announced tenants for its Temple campus, the company is in the process of rolling out approximately 1,200 MW of data center space at four Texas locations — under the name Project Longhorn — which, according to the company’s website, will include hyperscale, blockchain, and others. will serve. high-performance computing clients. Rowan is also pursuing a 45 megawatt project in Oregon and a 500 megawatt data center development in the San Francisco area.

But Rowan’s planned campus isn’t the only major data center project coming to Temple. Meta announced in late March that the company formerly known as Facebook will build a 90K SF hyperscale facility on a 393-acre site near where Rowan plans to build. According to Data Center Dynamics, construction of the $800 million facility is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

Meta says its new Temple campus will use 100% renewable energy, a share of about 700 megawatts that the company claims to have helped develop in the state. And while Rowan hasn’t announced any details about using renewables in his project, both of the JV’s parent companies specialize in purchasing green energy. The development of large-scale data centers has been a major driver for renewables, often in areas such as rural Texas, where attitudes toward clean energy initiatives are not favorable.

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