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Virtus plots colocation campus in Buckinghamshire as demand for London datacentres soars

Virtus is committing to bringing a new datacentre campus online by 2026, as data shows the demand for colocation capacity continues to outstrip supply

West London-based colocation provider Virtus Data Centres is planning to build a server farm campus on a 50-acre freehold plot in Saunderton, Buckinghamshire that will house up to 75MW of IT capacity.

The company, which is part of the ST Telemedia Global Data Centres Group, said that the project is necessary to ensure Virtus is well-placed to respond to the growing demand for datacentre capacity the artificial intelligence (AI) trend is fuelling. 

Planning permission for the campus is confirmed and the project’s construction is due to start during the final quarter of 2024, with Virtus working to a mid-2026 go-live date for the site.

According to Virtus, the site will be powered by 100% renewable energy, as are all the other datacentres in its portfolio. “Virtus has committed to a zero-waste-to-landfill principle during the facility’s operation and aims to achieve leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] Gold accreditation for the sustainability,” the company said, in a statement. 

“Other sustainability features include implementation of rainwater harvesting and exploration of waste heat use for adjacent farming. Additionally, an annual carbon offset payment will be made to the local authority for ten years, contributing to local environmental improvement projects.”

The Saunderton site will be relatively close to the company’s existing datacentre campus in Slough, Berkshire, and – on completion – will bring the total number of sites the company operate in the UK to five, as Virtus already has a presence at two locations in Hayes, Middlesex, and another in Enfield, Middlesex.

The company has previously expanded beyond the M25 to mainland Europe to Germany, where it operates two campuses in Berlin.

Neil Cresswell, CEO of Virtus Data Centres, said the acquisition of the Saunderton site is a “significant step” in the company’s strategic growth plans. 

“It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to provide advanced datacentre facilities in the UK, whilst also expanding our operations in Europe,” he said. 

“Our focus is to support the evolving requirements of our customers, wherever they need them, and the burgeoning demand for AI-ready data infrastructure. We are dedicated to being at the forefront of supporting businesses on their digital transformation journeys, whilst ensuring that our datacentres are built to the highest sustainability standards, aligning with our target to be carbon neutral by 2030.”   

The news that Virtus will be bringing additional datacentre capacity online in due course comes at a good time, given data published by real estate consultancy CBRE earlier this month revealed that the demand for colocation capacity across Europe is outstripping supply. 

According to its data, which tracks supply and demand trends for colocation capacity across Europe during the final quarter of 2023, datacentre capacity remains in high demand in London. However, supply remains constrained by lack of power and a scarcity of suitable sites, but – despite these challenges – the capital saw the highest take-up (of 123MW) last year of any European colocation hub.    

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