Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – Having failed twice as a retail outlet, a relatively new but vacant store building on 11th Street is finding new life as an Internet data center.
The former Nilsen Feed store, which began life as a McKenney’s Do-It-Best Lumber in February 2013 and closed two years later, has been vacant since October, 2018. Its resurrection will see it full of servers linked to a 10,000 mile-long fiberoptic cable linking Humboldt with Singapore. Copeland Lumber had previously occupied the site.
The project was discussed during on online webinar hosted by the City of Arcata last week.
The center will be owned and leased to clients by Herndon, Va.-based EdgeConneX, which operates such centers in locations throughout the U.S., South America and Europe, and tied into the new fiberoptic cable by Boulder, Colo.-based Vero Fiber Networks.
A data center is a principally permitted activity in the Industrial-zoned area, so no Planning Commission or other hearings will be necessary. Any permitting is ministerial, that is, issued by city staff.
Construction is set to start in January, and peak in April and May. It will reconfigure the former store’s internal layout and create some small additions for extra office space, and for backup generators. These will be enclosed within sound-suppressing walls. The center should be ready to open by September, 2021.
The center will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vehicular traffic is expected to be less than the previous stores generated.
Phillip Marangella, EdgeConneX chief marketing officer, said his company purchases renewable energy credits, using wind to offset carbon emissions across all its operations.
He said the company is open to including access to small, locally operated Internet service providers.