Angelo Gordon Invests €500 Million in German Data Centers
IZ Immobilien Zeitung, October 31, 2023
DATA CASTLE, a strategic alliance between German data center developer DCD Data Center Developers and global US investment manager Angelo Gordon for Germany, is set to embark on the construction of two cutting-edge data centers near Frankfurt and in Berlin. Angelo Gordon is committing approximately half a billion euros to fuel the initial two project developments.
The vision for the data center, known as FRA1 and situated at Kronberger Hang in Schwalbach near Frankfurt, was unveiled by the Munich-based joint venture DATA CASTLE, led by Christopher Stief, in early 2023. Responding to inquiries from Immobilien Zeitung, the data center specialist now shares additional insights and reveals plans for a second project already in the pipeline. As per Data Castle's claims, plots for both projects in Schwalbach near Frankfurt and in Berlin-Spandau have been secured, power requirements are assured, and construction contracts have already been awarded.
"In Berlin, construction will commence shortly," announces Jörgen Venot, who assumed the role of Chief Sales Officer at DATA CASTLE in early October. In Frankfurt, the key prerequisites for construction are also met: "Here, we are in the final stages of planning and approval procedures, and then construction will kick off in Frankfurt as well." DATA CASTLE aims to commission both new facilities by the end of 2025. Venot is now spearheading the leasing efforts for the planned MW capacities, targeting DAX companies, other enterprise clients, major cloud service and hyperscaler providers such as Microsoft, Google, or AWS, as well as larger administrations, the federal government, and public institutions.
Data Centers near Frankfurt and in Berlin to be operational by the end of 2025
Details on the ongoing project developments: In Frankfurt, DATA CASTLE has acquired an 11,900 sqm plot. The plans include three floors for customer IT, each spanning 2,178 sqm, totaling 6,534 sqm. The total power, including the electrical connection, is estimated at 25 MVA for an IT load of 18 MW (the remainder is allocated, for example, for cooling). Additionally, there will be 1,001 sqm of office space.
The BER1 data center in Berlin is planned for Juliusturm in Spandau on an approximately 12,000 sqm plot. A total of 10,236 sqm of data center space across three floors and 1,590 sqm of office space will be available for customer IT. The total power is 40 MVA, with a pure IT load of 26 MW. For both data centers, FRA1 and BER1, the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), an indicator of energy efficiency, is targeted at 1.2, considered an ambitious value by experts. However, the German Energy Efficiency Act currently in planning mandates a PUE of 1.2 for all data centers operational after June 30, 2026.
Total investment volume for properties and infrastructure is around €1 billion
Angelo Gordon is set to invest approximately €400 million to €500 million in the first two German data centers, FRA1 and BER1. "Depending on the IT equipment brought by the customers, the value of the servers could also be around €400 million to €500 million," estimates Venot. The total investment sum for both project developments, including all aspects, is expected to be around €1 billion.
"The growth in the data center market is robust; it is the number one driver for investors, and the returns are better than in the traditional real estate market," states Stief. He does not disclose the names of Angelo Gordon Fund investors, but the equity is likely to come from typical sources such as US insurance companies or pension funds.
The DATA CASTLE team is still expanding: Currently comprising ten individuals, Stief describes them as "experienced professionals from the data center industry, and we are bringing new people on board every month." Having previously developed numerous data centers in Germany under different banners, DATA CASTLE positions itself as a specialist in colocation and hyperscaler data centers. While they provide server rooms and ensure their continuous operation, teams are being established for operations and maintenance.
"Data protection makes Germany so attractive for investments"
Angelo Gordon did not randomly choose Germany: "Despite the current economic downturn, the German economy remains the locomotive in Europe. What convinces us, especially, is the high protection that private data enjoys here, including data sovereignty. This, along with excellent connectivity and low latency, is a significant reason why Germany is so attractive for investments in data centers," explains Stief. Regarding plans beyond the two current project developments, Stief mentions, "Currently, our focus is on Germany. In a second step, it could be possible that we also look around the entire DACH region." The market is extremely dynamic and growing, as acknowledged by Venot: "Every week, it seems like new funds with €1, 2, 3 billion are entering the market."
Two data centers may not be the end
Venot does not comment on further investment intentions by Angelo Gordon in Germany and the German-speaking neighboring countries, but it is likely that a €500 million investment will not be the end. This is especially true because alternatives in the real estate market are currently limited.
And the ambition that DATA CASTLE claims for itself is unlikely to be fulfilled with just two data centers: "Together, we will become the leading Green Datacenter platform in Germany. For this, we develop, build, and operate energy-efficient and highly available data centers at central German locations," promises Stief.
DATA CASTLE further strengthens its team with Pascal Ubrig as Head of Construction
Munich, March 09th, 2023
New team leader in the Construction segment: With Pascal Ubrig, DATA CASTLE, operator of a modern Green Data Center-Platform, brings an experienced new employee on board as Head of Construction. Since February 2023, he has been responsible for the Development, Design and Construction departments. With his expertise, Ubrig will make a fundamental contribution to the successful completion and commissioning of the first green data center projects at the top locations in Germany.
Extensive expertise for the construction of sustainably operated data centers.
Ubrig's past professional experience includes working as a construction manager at Züblin, as a construction and project manager at Kleinundarchitekten, and most recently as a project manager at AJ Generalplaner. There, as Senior Construction Engineer, he was responsible for large-scale data center projects, where he can also count the FRA-1 RZ of Iron Mountain among his successes. At DATA CASTLE, his activities are driven by customer requirements as well as the strategic goals of the company's management and investors, among other things. One focus is to realize a distinctive Green Data Center DNA. This includes developing its own signature for data center design, which is taken into account in all DATA CASTLE data centers. The central goal is to make a clear statement and commitment to the market regarding sustainability and performance.
DATA CASTLE is a fresh and modern company with short decision-making processes and respectful cooperation," explains Pascal Ubrig. "I am looking forward to successfully moving DATA CASTLE forward - side by side with my colleagues who share my motivation. My desire is to work successfully with reliable partners, planners, consultants and construction companies, and to build a strong team in my department.”
"We are pleased to have found an experienced Head of Construction from the Data Center industry in Pascal Ubrig: With his construction and development experience as well as his enriching personality, he fulfills all requirements to lead our Construction Team and create our own DATA CASTLE design for all our data centers. His professional achievements to date speak for themselves," commented Dr. Christopher Stief, Co-Founder and CEO of DATA CASTLE. "We warmly welcome Pascal to the team and wish him every success in building the Construction department for our Green Data Center projects in Germany."
Enlargement of the management team: Dirk Pohl starts as new Chief Operating Officer (COO) at DATA CASTLE
Munich, February 1st, 2023
DATA CASTLE, developer and operator of an innovative Green Data Center - Platform, has a new Chief Operating Officer. Dirk Pohl joined the management team in this position on January 1, 2023 and now heads the company's operations.
For hyperscalers and corporate customers of all industries and sizes, DATA CASTLE will operate colocation data centers at several major business locations in Germany in the future, which are characterized by their high availability and sustainability. One of Dirk Pohl's first tasks will be to recruit an experienced, motivated and competent team to operate the planned data centers. This team will ensure the uninterrupted operation of the data centers and the physical security of the systems 24/7, that they are available to customers at all times. In the long term, Dirk Pohl plans to establish DATA CASTLE as an innovation leader in the construction and operation of high-availability data centers on the German market with a strong focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.
"My passion is data centers, their organization and innovative sustainable measures. I also attach great importance to the high availability of the data center infrastructure and the physical security of our customers' systems," explains Dirk Pohl, DATA CASTLE's new Chief Operating Officer.
Many years of experience and first-class cooperation
Dirk Pohl has been working in the data center industry for over 20 years. For a long time, he held various positions for e-shelter and NTT Global Data Centers respectively - most recently as authorized signatory and regional director for the data centers in the south of Germany. His many years of experience will help the new Chief Operating Officer to tackle the upcoming tasks and challenges at DATA CASTLE.
Dirk Pohl cites the company's approach to promoting and leveraging "greenovation" as the main reason for joining DATA CASTLE. "I also join a management team of experienced data center experts who approach their work with a pioneering spirit and in a very collegial manner. The members make their decisions quickly, work flexible and are very well connected in the market," adds Dirk Pohl. Together, the team will implement data center projects in the future that serve the digital transformation in Germany.
"We have found the perfect Chief Operating Officer in Dirk Pohl. With his many years of experience in operating large colocation data centers and his appreciative personality, he meets all the requirements to lead our operations teams and plan the structures of the data centers," commented Dr. Christopher Stief, Co-Founder and CEO of DATA CASTLE. "We warmly welcome Dirk to the team and wish him every success in building the operations organization at our first Green Data Center near Frankfurt am Main."