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Ascent building $85 million data center in Wellston

Ascent building $85 million data center in Wellston

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A local data center developer and operator announced plans to build an $85 million multi-tenant facility on a vacant parcel in Wellston.

Maryland Heights-based Ascent said Wednesday that it will start construction in the coming months on a new data center in the 6400 block of Page Avenue near the Wellston Metrolink station.

The facility, to be called STL1 Data Center, will seek to provide data center infrastructure for St. Louis’ growing biotechnology and life sciences industries and emerging startups, among other potential tenants, according to Ascent CEO Phil Horstmann.

“There really are no new state-of-the-art data facilities in St. Louis,” he said.

Horstmann said the 15-acre site’s location within a few miles of Washington University, St. Louis University and the Cortex biotech district makes it ideal.

“Big data infrastructure is a requirement for the underpinnings of the next generation of jobs,” said Horstmann, who founded Ascent 16 years ago and has since built speculative data centers in Chicago. “There are a lot of life sciences and other startups coming out of the two big universities and I’d like nothing more than those companies staying here in St. Louis.”

Ascent has grown to 155 employees in Maryland Heights and offices in Austin, Texas, and Chicago.

In 2007, Ascent built a more than 700,000-square-foot data center in Chicago that it leased and later sold to Microsoft. Three years later, Ascent built a 250,000-square-foot data center in Chicago, leased it to Comcast, Walgreen Co. and other tenants, and sold it to a real estate investment trust for $211.7 million in May.

Ascent has the Wellston land under contract from the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of St. Louis County. Horstmann said the development will bring about 40 full-time jobs once it’s operational.

Doug Rasmussen, senior vice president of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, said Ascent’s data center is coming at the right time to meet demand.

“Every company, no matter what kind of industry you’re in, has data needs,” Rasmussen said. “Having this project locally is one we think the corporate community will seek out.”

 

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