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Fast-Growing Commercial Niche? Digital Data Centers

Artificial intelligence (AI) – really just a giant computer network – needs space to operate, making digital-data space a high growth commercial-market niche.

NEW YORK – A corner of the U.S. commercial property market is flourishing as developers erect data centers – brick-and-mortar homes for digital data.

In especially high demand? Buildings designed for artificial intelligence (AI) servers, which require extreme levels of power and cooling to operate.

Watchers say data centers are thriving, even as other commercial real estate niches languish in the face of steep interest rates and low demand. Part of that demand comes from AI-growth tenants, such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon, that are willing and able to pay higher rents.

A record 2.3 gigawatts-plus of capacity has already been leased in North American data centers this year, according to datacenterHawk, and an additional 15 gigawatts in new capacity – enough to power 4 million homes – is still in the planning pipeline.

In the meantime, data-center owners are exploring new technologies, utility partnerships and proprietary sources of renewable power to feed the high-powered facilities and address environmental concerns.

Source: Wall Street Journal (10/24/23) Grant, Peter

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