Just seven months after embarking on a feasibility study to help establish Eagan as a major telecommunications hub in Minnesota, the City of Eagan is proud to announce the planned development of a new 138,000 square foot carrier neutral data center called The Connexion.
The specialized data center, known as a colocation facility, will be open to all telecommunications and internet service providers, as well as local and regional companies needing offsite data storage or disaster recovery options. The facility will be privately owned and operated and located along Yankee Doodle Road west of Pilot Knob, building upon an already fiber optic rich environment in Eagan. The Connexion will be developed and owned by Five 9s Digital, LLC, a North Carolina firm experienced in the site selection and development of mission critical multi-tenant facilities.
“The City of Eagan, MN is a community that gets it,” says Five 9s CEO, Doug Hollidge. “From government to business, Eagan understands the importance and long term benefits of having a highly connected and redundant data center in their city to serve not just the city’s robust business community, but The Connexion will provide a tremendous asset for the Upper Midwest.”
“Customers tell us there is a current lack of high quality data center options in the marketplace,” Hollidge adds. “In our solution, The Connexion will provide high connectivity, private data suites, route redundancy and environmental efficiencies.”
A task force, called the Eagan Technology Working Group made up of top technical and business talent from some of Eagan’s largest companies along with City and Chamber of Commerce staff have been studying Eagan’s broadband needs and challenges since 2005.
“We’re tremendously excited that the hard work of our Eagan companies and the Technology Working Group has led to this important advancement,” said Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire. Eagan’s role, he emphasizes, was not to own or run such a facility, but rather, to act as a tipping point to help bring the technical analysis and market forces together to make investment happen.
Overall private investment in the project is estimated to be between $75-$100M between the initial development of the facility and the subsequent tenant investment and installation of its mission critical equipment.
The Eagan area stands to attract additional data center end-users due to one of the key benefits of the Upper Midwest location of the Connexion—the extended cool climate which allows data centers to utilize “free cooling.” Minnesota also has a relatively low risk of natural disasters, compared with other areas of the country.
The Mission Critical team of Jones, Lang, LaSalle has been assisting on the project, and its study reveals “Minnesota is an excellent and growing data center marketplace,” says JLL’s Senior Associate of Mission Critical Brokerage, Brett Severson. “The Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul region has a relative dearth of viable data center options currently, and because The Connexion Data Center will be the first multi-tenant, LEED-certified, Tier 3 facility of its kind that is purpose-built to accommodate the latest needs of data center users, we think it will drive market demand” says Severson.
The Connexion will also definitively solve what is perceived as a single-point-of-failure issue facing the region. Many high capacity fiber networks in the area offer some route diversity for fiber optic lines and self-healing networks, and yet often funnel through one facility in the region before transmitting to the rest of the country or world. This issue was first recognized in a 2009 report by the Minnesota Ultra High Speed Broadband Task Force.
XO Communcations is committing to be one of the fiber service providers in The Connexion offering high capacity connectivity via an alternate Southern long haul fiber route which will connect to a transwestern fiber link. This alternate route will offer other fiber providers and data center end users another level of redundant service to provide to their customers in the region.
“XO Communications has worked very closely with the City of Eagan and the Tech Working Group in developing a solution to address the lack of Internet redundancy in the Twin Cities metro area,” said Mark Feil, general manager for Minnesota at XO Communications. “With our nationwide fiber optic network running directly through Eagan, we are able to provide another major route for Internet traffic into and out of the Upper Midwest for businesses’ IP connectivity needs.”
Due to the current demand for such a facility in the region, and the determination of a strongly suitable data center in Eagan, Five 9s Digital has announced plans to proceed with the development of the project with a scheduled completion of 3rd quarter 2012.
The design and development team for The Connexion includes Five 9s Digital, Jones Lang LaSalle, McGough General Contractors, Pope Architecture, MMC mechanical contractors, and Hunt Electric. All parties on the design and development team possess substantial data center experience. Jones Lang LaSalle’s Mission Critical Division serves as the Project Manager and Leasing Associate for the project.
“McGough is extremely proud to be a part of this exciting partnership with Five 9′s Digital, Jones Lang LaSalle and the City of Eagan for the development of the Connexion. In addition to providing the business community with a Tier III reliable and secure new facility, it will also provide up to 50 construction jobs,” said Tim Nagle of McGough, which will be the general contractor for the data center.
Tier III classification is important, because estimates are that 70% of the U.S. market demand is for Tier III space, and because of the under supply of advanced colocation space, demand is growing. Some analysts put the 2012 colo market in North America at $5 billion.
City of Eagan
Five 9s Digital
The Minnesota Science and Technology Authority recently posted results from a survey across Minnesota on the extent to which science and technology drive Minnesota’s economy. They look at what is happening with science and technology based businesses and how what’s happening in local businesses relates to the State’s Science and Technology plan.
Please check out the full presentation for details but here are a couple of highlights:
- Many see research and innovation as an opportunity for Minnesota
- Most felt a strong need for a strategic plan – although only one third had heard about the Minnesota’s Science & Technology Plan
We are pleased to see that next week is the launch of the Greater MSP, an economic development group focusing on promoting the entire Twin Cities area. According to the Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal…
Greater MSP is a new partnership of government economic development agencies and private corporations already in Minnesota. The group’s formation was headed by the Itasca Project, a group of about 60 Minnesota CEOs and elected officials focused on improving the Twin Cities regional competitiveness. The Itasca Project raised $2.8 million to launch the economic development group in March. It quietly adopted the name Greater MSP in June, according to a Business Journal story.
We were pleased to have the Michael Langley, Greater MSP CEO, speak at the Dakota Future Broadband Forum last spring.
The Center for Digital Government’s Digital Counties and the National Association of Counties (NACo) survey US counties to identify best electronic practices among counties nationwide, regardless of size. According to Digital Communities…
“The Digital Counties Survey identifies the very best examples of how counties are aligning technology to support strategic priorities and create crucial operational and administrative efficiencies,” said NACo Executive Director Larry E. Naake. “Especially important during these tough economic times, counties across the country are using innovative technologies to reduce county operations costs and enhance service delivery.”
We are pleased to announce that Dakota County ranked number 2 for counties with population between 250,000-499,999!
According to the Apple Valley Patch…
The Apple Valley City Council on Thursday was presented the Telly Award statue for its economic development video, “Plant-Grow-Prosper,” which was created to publicize “the economic vibrancy and diversity of the City,” according to a memo to the council.
You can find the award-winning video on their web site.
The Broadband Forum last week was a great success. We had about 50 attendees; we all left a little wiser and inspired to improve broadband in Dakota County. The day started with Michael Langley from Metro MSP helping us focus on regional economic development. It was a good reminder that in today’s global economy, we are not competing with Anoka County – rather the Twin Cities region is competing with Phoenix, Dallas and London. It’s important to recognize that together our counties garner more attention and more interest from new and relocating businesses than we do alone. Langley offers a framework of strategies that will help us succeed:
- Brand Identity
- Excellence in Education and Workforce
- Infrastructure (Met Council is a real regional advantage)
- Creating Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
See more videos from the conference. (We will be posting more notes from the Forum throughout the week, including more video.)