Over the past decade, the data center industry has become one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Owing to increased reliance on technology in virtually every facet of society and commerce, more and more companies now require the use of data centers and their services. Operated like no other class of real estate, a data center that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year requires unique and complex systems, including massive amounts of power, cooling, bandwidth and security. Due to their special characteristics and requirements, data centers have emerged as a truly unique class of real estate.
In view of the recent rapid growth in demand for data centers and the subtleties and complexities inherent in their development and operations, data center owners and users alike require the services of legal counsel with deep expertise in the industry and experience with the myriad issues that characterize the business.
Real Estate Issues for Data Centers
Cooley's Real Estate Group has established itself as a national leader in advising companies on the legal complexities associated with all aspects of data center development. Our attorneys take a result-driven, strategic approach to providing comprehensive solutions for our clients in their planning, zoning, acquisition, financing, construction and leasing of data centers, both domestically and internationally. The Real Estate Group offers a full range of resources during the entitlement and development cycle that includes assisting with the strategic planning, zoning, contract negotiations and leasing of centers once fully constructed.
Our years of experience in this unique, but burgeoning industry establish our Group as among the most capable legal counsel in all aspects of data center development and operation. Cooley's Real Estate Group has represented data center owners or tenants in the negotiation of leases for in excess of 200 megawatts of critical IT power and associated raised floor space. Below is a sampling of the specific capabilities and tasks related to the data center industry in which our Real Estate Group has experience and expertise:
- Initial planning of data center locations
- Acquisition of raw land for data center development, existing structures for redevelopment as data centers and/or existing operational data centers
- Land use and zoning
- Negotiation of architect design agreements, construction contracts and other related documentation for the development of data center properties
- Environmental issues unique to data centers
- Construction, term, mezzanine and revolving credit line financing
- Preparation and negotiation of agreements relating to data center operations such as electrical power agreements, fiber connectivity agreements and licenses, master services agreements, service level agreements, IRU agreements and managed service agreements
- Preparation and negotiation (for owners and users) of data center lease agreements and colocation agreements
Clean Energy & Techology Issues for Data Centers
Given the energy intensity of data center operation, energy costs can be a major driver of profitability. Fortunately, in an era of rapid evolution in both energy supply business models and technology solutions, it is possible for data centers to reduce dramatically energy costs and consequently improve their bottom line results and thus their competitiveness in the market. The Cooley Clean Energy and Technology Group focuses on implementing business models and technologies that can dramatically reduce data center net energy costs. From energy efficiency to on-site generation to smart grid applications to distributed renewable energy, we are market leaders in representing suppliers of creative energy solutions to the data center industry. We have particular expertise in net metering regimes and in the monetization of solar renewable energy credits (SRECS), both significant sources of positive cash flow in a number of states where the data center industry is active.