Montgomery County starts incentive fund for data centers -- Gazette.Net


Montgomery County is starting a new economic development incentive grant designed to boost its data-center industry.

ByteGrid, which operates two data facilities in Silver Spring and leases space to tenants, will receive up to $12 million in rebates for its customers. The rebates will offset part of the personal property taxes they pay on technology infrastructure, such as servers and routers, over a dozen years.

“A lot of jurisdictions offer these kinds of incentives,” Ken Parent, CEO of ByteGrid, said Monday. “Over the past few months, we have been talking with Montgomery County leaders about this. They get it. They want the data-center business to thrive here.”

The idea is to make the county a more attractive option for private companies and public agencies that are outsourcing technology infrastructure using such centers, said Steve Silverman, director of Montgomery County’s Department of Economic Development. The county hopes to compete with areas such as Loudoun County, Va., which has more than 50 data centers that are used by technology giants such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

“The economic development grant for ByteGrid’s customers is a clear signal of the county’s commitment to create a highly pro-business region,” Silverman said.

ByteGrid’s Silver Spring facilities have about 91,000 square feet of computer-room floor. The buildings themselves have more than 200,000 square feet, with room for tenants to operate. A “substantial” number of customers’ and ByteGrid’s employees is housed in the buildings, Parent said.

Bethesda defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is one of the tenants leasing space at ByteGrid’s centers in Silver Spring. Other tenants are involved in financial services and government contracting, among other areas, Parent said.

ByteGrid bought the data centers from Citibank in 2011 and was leasing the space back to that financial giant. But Citibank pulled out about a year ago. The space is about 25 percent full, Parent said.

ByteGrid, headquartered in McLean, Va., also operates data centers in Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta and Seattle. The company recently purchased NetRiver, a Seattle area company that provides data centers and cloud hosting.

Such purchases can help customers in the Silver Spring centers by broadening services, offering a “higher degree” of overall services, Parent said.