Former Digital Realty datacenter reborn as urban farmstead

No, the devil's lettuce isn't on the menu

A former Digital Realty datacenter in Virginia is getting a new lease on life as an urban farmstead. And no, this isn’t a crypto farm or some seedy weed growing operation.

The 70,000 square-foot climate-controlled facility, located in Herndon, Virginia, is now home to vertically stacked hydroponic gardens, which produce leafy greens, herbs, and vegetables.

The agricultural facility, operated by Beanstalk Farms, is slated to open during a ceremony tomorrow hosted by the state's governor Glenn Youngkin.

Found in 2017 by Jack and Mike Ross, Beanstalk — not to be confused with the cryptocurrency by the same name — builds vertical farms in vacant commercial buildings. Using a “proprietary hydroponics technology,” the company says it can grow all year long without the need for pesticides or a large staff.

“This new facility will produce the equivalent of over 50 acres of traditional farmland and allow us to expand into more local grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and restaurants,” Mike Ross, told Reston Now in an interview discussing the planned expansion early last year.

In addition to agricultural space, the datacenter will also serve as Beanstalk’s new headquarters and research and development center. The biz will also reportedly operate a larger storefront out of the facility to bring in more punters, since it currently offers its produce direct to customers or via Harris Teeter, a local supermarket.

In support of the venture, Beanstalk has received $200,000 in grants from the Governor’s Agricultural and Forestry Industries Development Fund and Fairfax County. The company says the funding will support $2 million in local investment and create 29 jobs in the region.

The Register reached out to Beanstalk Farms for comment; we’ll let you know if we hear back.

Before its conversion to agriculture, the former datacenter was operated by colocation giant Digital Realty for the better part of a decade. According to county records, Digital Realty acquired the facility in 2005 for just shy of $13 million.

Digital Realty later sold the facility in 2016 to Netrality Group for $6 million. However the deal lasted like an over-ripe tomato in the sun, with the company offloading the facility on datacenter operator Lincoln Rackhouse a matter of weeks later.

The facility most recently sold for just shy of $19 million in December last year. ®

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