Plans unveiled for Scotland’s largest data centre

The Pyramids Data Centre, in Bathgate, will be the largest of its kind in Scotland. Picture: Contributed
The Pyramids Data Centre, in Bathgate, will be the largest of its kind in Scotland. Picture: Contributed
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Plans have been unveiled for the largest-ever data centre in Scotland, potentially covering 500,000 square feet.

The Pyramids Data Centre is located in Bathgate, just off the M8, and those behind it said it will enhance the Scottish market, able to handle its “vast data storage and processing needs as it moves into an increasingly digital future”.

This is a natural progression for the site

Steven McGarva

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The project is a partnership between property-developer Ashfield Land and technical real estate asset manager TechRE with support from Cushman & Wakefield, Commsworld, Atkins and 3D Reid.

They said its size “ensures it will be capable of handling the data storage and processing requirements of the largest of organisations and is likely to prove vital for the continued growth of Scotland’s technology sector”.

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It will work with both the public and private sectors as they become increasingly digital, with cloud-based technology playing a growing role.

The facility will be developed in three phases, and will provide 250,000 sq ft of “flexible, modular and scalable technical space”, able to reach twice that amount, with phase one providing 60,000 sq ft and available immediately,

Steven McGarva, director at Ashfield Land, which bought the Pyramids Business Park in January 2016, said the company has considered various options for the site’s future, and “it is clear that we need to invest and be at the heart of Scotland’s digital economy”.

He added: “With such investment, the Pyramids presents a unique opportunity… given its scale, power supply and data infrastructure, to create a campus-style data centre and digital hub.

“This is a natural progression for the site, taking it from a manufacturing centre in the 1990s through to a call centre and now into the digital age.”

McGarva also said there will be an increasing need for regional data centres as demand for faster access to data increases and technology improves.

“As the Scottish data centre market grows, and becomes more sophisticated, it will become more and more important for Scottish-based companies to support these services locally.”

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The project also said it has access to multiple high-speed fibre network providers, with plans being developed to power the centre with on-site renewable energy, and it will have various high-security measures in place.

Roger Weir, director at TRE Asset Management, said the site can target regional requirements, “but also compete with more developed markets such as Ireland and Denmark for much larger hyper data centre deals”.

Michael Hunter, associate director in Cushman & Wakefield’s data centre advisory group, echoed this point about helping Scotland compete with international peers.

He said data centres have been pivotal in the UK moving from a manufacturing to a service-based economy. “In recent years Ireland has benefited from attracting upwards of £6 billion of investment in the data centre industry from companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, AWS and Microsoft.

“Up until now, Scotland has not provided the size and scale of infrastructure needed,” he added, saying the Pyramids site is well-positioned to meet such needs.

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