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Urbacon and Niagara Falls Redevelopment (NFR) Announce Plans to Develop $1.48 Billion Niagara Digital Campus

June 28, 2022

  • With an estimated 5,600 construction jobs and more than 550 permanent jobs for area residents, the Niagara Digital Campus would be among the largest private development projects in the city’s history
  • As part of the project, NFR also proposes donating public amenities to the City of Niagara Falls, including land with potential use as a new park and events center, and $250,000 per year for 10 years for upkeep and maintenance
  • In addition, NFR would cover the city’s excess cost of acquiring any out-parcels to the extent this cost exceeds what the city would have paid for NFR land

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (June 28, 2022)—Urbacon, one of the premier developers of commercial and industrial properties in Canada and the northern United States, has teamed up with Niagara Falls Redevelopment (NFR) to announce a landmark partnership to develop the Niagara Digital Campus, an innovative, $1.48 billion technology and data hub that will bring thousands of jobs and cutting-edge technological infrastructure to the City of Niagara Falls.

Urbacon will develop the project, which is currently envisioned for the intersections of Rainbow and John Daly Boulevards. The campus will be home to approximately 600,000 square feet of high-security, technologically advanced data-center space, creating state-of-the-art data and IT jobs for area residents. The development will also bring new infrastructure for high-speed broadband access, along with considerable county, local and school board tax revenues that will expand economic opportunity across the region.

Based on projections derived from data in several prominent studies—including by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center and the Northern Virginia Technology Council—during construction the Niagara Digital Campus will create more than 5,600 high-paying jobs with more than $250 million in wages, with economic spinoff benefits expected to top more than $810 million. Once operational, the Digital Campus will create more than 550 high-paying permanent jobs, with expected annual wages of nearly $29 million. Total economic benefit from the new facility is expected to exceed $250 million annually, with more than 1,700 permanent jobs created in support and ancillary businesses.

The total construction and development cost of approximately $1.48 billion for the 135-megawatt (MW) campus is based on an industry-wide average of $11 million per MW of power.

“Our Niagara Digital Campus will be among the largest developments in Niagara Falls’ history, bringing jobs and high-tech opportunity that will benefit area residents for generations,” said Roger Trevino of NFR. “We have been in discussion with city officials for months and look forward to working closely with the city as we refine the plan – creating a campus that enhances and serves all members of our community.”

“We understand that the City has identified NFR’s Falls Street property as its favored location for the recently announced Centennial Park project and has commenced the eminent domain process to that end,” Trevino added. “We firmly believe that eminent domain proceedings are not needed, and we oppose such actions as highly premature. Eminent domain can take years and cost taxpayers millions. It would be completely unnecessary in the face of the opportunities we have been discussing with Mayor Restaino.”

Ideal Location, Proven Partner

Building on the unique strengths of the Niagara Falls area, the development will be energy efficient, low noise and blend seamlessly with the surrounding area. It will be among the largest data-center developments in Western New York and is expected to serve as a magnet for additional high-technology jobs and opportunity in the region.

“We are truly excited at the prospect of bringing our new facilities to Niagara Falls,” said Peter Russell, Vice President, Properties & Development Management at Urbacon. “With ready access to hydroelectric power, Niagara Falls is an ideal location for the campus. And the city’s northern climate requires less reliance on mechanical cooling, allowing for operations that are quieter and more energy efficient.”

Urbacon has successfully built similar facilities in Montreal, Toronto and Richmond Hill, Ontario. Each project brought tremendous economic benefit to its local community and has received the full support of all levels of government.

Economic Opportunity, Public Amenities

As part of the new Niagara Digital Campus development, NFR is proposing donating a portion of its existing land to the City of Niagara Falls for public amenities, including a potential public park and events center. NFR will also donate $250,000 to the city each year for 10 years for upkeep and maintenance of the park. NFR would also cover the cost of any parcels of land that needed to be acquired by the city that NFR does not already own.

The campus will also be home to the new Niagara Digital Campus Technology Education Center, where local school groups and other interested members of the community will have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of data engineering and network operations. Future plans include scholarship programs and partnerships with local educational institutions in furtherance of these efforts.

About Urbacon

Urbacon is a preeminent developer, constructor, and operator of hyperscale and build-to-suit data centers in North America. They provide leading edge facilities with high connectivity, high efficiency, and high security, in flexible geographies with expansion potential.

Founded in 1984, Urbacon brings the competitive advantage of in-house resources with a range of technical proficiencies at their disposal including planning, architecture, engineering, and project management.

At the forefront in developing innovative power and communication systems and resolving mission critical business continuity and IT infrastructure challenges, Urbacon’s expertise and experience is extensive.

About Niagara Falls Redevelopment

Niagara Falls Redevelopment (NFR) is a private company dedicated to the redevelopment of Niagara Falls, New York. NFR owns more than 140 acres of prime real estate in the heart of downtown Niagara Falls. With large, ready-to-build parcels just steps away from the falls, NFR has a rare opportunity to participate in the rebirth of one of America’s most beloved cities.

Over the years, NFR has spent more than $116 million in the Niagara Falls area as part of its continuing effort to develop key parcels. This represents one of the most significant private investments of capital in the history of the City of Niagara Falls. NFR’s contributions to the community include property and school taxes totaling nearly $11.6 million, making NFR and its subsidiaries among the largest taxpayers in Niagara Falls. NFR has also made more than $1.4 million in charitable donations to local schools, community groups and nonprofit organizations.