Episode 11

Beyond the server:

How our love of data is changing data centers.


“I see technology changing. But I also see our demand for data, our demand for content, our demand for these services, like streaming, like gaming, like web 3.0, like blockchain. Again, technology will evolve to accommodate these new services and applications. But that demand, I don't see slowing down anytime soon.”

Rob Walters, Principal, Data Centers Sales and Leasing at Avison Young

"technology will evolve to accommodate these new services and applications"

In this episode

Far too often, the relationship between the apps on our smartphones and the ecosystems behind them is unknown to everyday consumers.

Whether you’re endless scrolling through Instagram or getting the latest stock updates on Robinhood, every tap, swipe, and like goes through one of the thousands of data centers around the world.

These data centers are the central nerve system of every technology company, government agency, and streaming platform in the world. Without them, our tech-driven world isn’t possible. How did we get here, and what does the future hold for data centers as technology only becomes a more prevalent part of our days?

Host Mariam Sobh explores with experts Michael Rechtin, Partner of Real Estate at Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Rob Walters, Principal, Data Centers Sales and Leasing at Avison Young.


  • 07:02 Michael Rechtin shares the three types of data centers owned by most technology companies.
  • 14:35 Michael Rechtin discusses data centers adapting to more sophisticated technology in the future.
  • 26:43 Rob Walters talks about cryptocurrency’s impact on market needs and demands in the data center industry.

Click here to expand transcript

Speaker 3 [00:04] When I think of data center, I think of like a big warehouse full of servers and wires and stuff, like in the middle of nowhere. To be honest, I've only seen them on like TV shows like Mr. Ro-bot. I've seen them on that. But yeah, to be honest, it doesn't really mean that much to me. Something I've never thought about, but I guess they probably use a lot of electricity and, yeah, things I do on the internet. I know that they have a carbon footprint, like sending an email or whatever.

Speaker 4 [00:26] What does my day to going through a datacenter mean to me? I'd assume things like the trends, kind of things I look at online might go through a data center, stuff like that.

Mariam Sobh [00:38] Welcome to Changing Places, brought to you by Avison Young. In Changing Places, we explore our continuing and complex relationships with the built world around us. I'm your host, Miriam Sobh. When I mention data centers, what's the first thing you think about? If you're not in the sector, probably not much comes to mind. Now, what if I asked you how you felt the last time Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, or even worse, DoorDash crashed and went down for 20 minutes, an hour, 12 hours– no matter how long it is, it always feels like the end of the world. And yet, somewhere in the background, people are rushing around a data center trying to fix the issue to get the app or website back online. Imagine if your banking app went down or the credit card issuer or traders couldn't execute trades on the stock exchange because of a da-ta center outage. We've often talked about the supply chain, but I want to delve into the world of data centers because whether we know it or not, they are integral to not only our daily pri-vate lives, but the mere running of cities, towns industry, the world, and every satellite orbiting space. In December 2021, the Des Moines Register announced that Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, was building two new data centers in Altoona, Iowa. These two buildings will comprise over 5 million square feet of space simply to serve the Facebook eco-system. At the same time, Reuters reported that Oracle launched its first cloud regions in Stockholm and Milan, with sites in Germany, the Netherlands and France, among others. Ac-cording to Reuters, Karla aren suggests that this pivot towards local data centers is because Europeans want to store their data in Europe or their countries whenever possible. Meantime, Business Wire reports that data centers will be a $143 billion global industry by 2027. With all of that to consider, I really want to dive into the sector; where it is, who's running it, and what the future holds for data centers. Because let's face it, whenever you send an emoji or a way too long email, you're interacting with it and helping it grow. But how, why, and what are the long term consequences of using Zoom, Amazon, and YouTube? I'll discuss all things data centers with my guests Michael Rechtin, Partner of Real Estate at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and Rob Walters, Principal Data Centers Sales and Leasing at Avison Young. We'll get their views on the current state of the data center sector, how its handling the unprecedented demand for its services, and how the sector will continue to manage the world's outsized appetite for data. We are asking, are data centers one of the cornerstones of our modern hyperconnected world being pushed to the brink or being primed for their next act? Michael Rechtin, welcome to Changing Places. Michael, what is the current state of the data center industry?

Michael Rechtin [03:33] You know, I'd say it's a very, very active. Closed out 2021 personally representing several da-ta center purchasers and developers in a lot of transactions, many of which were designed around cloud providers. So, helping the cloud flourish in the United States by way of either re-ally large data centers being developed in suburban and rural areas, all the way down to smaller, more compact data centers in suburban and urban environments. So really, a lot of activity and a lot more activity to come and 2022 we believe, too.

Mariam Sobh [04:11] With work from home, online shopping, and warehouses becoming much more technologically advanced, what does it look like on the ground right now?

Michael Rechtin [04:28] Yeah, I mean, the pandemic really has accelerated the growth into the cloud. So, the cloud is obviously something that's been around for several years now. Cloud providers scaled up as quickly as they could to handle those workloads, and we are just seeing that continue. So, it feels like it's here to stay, it's not going to be going away, and it's a permanent shift in the way people just live. So, it's something that's a permanent shift and it isn't like we're seeing things slow down, either. It's just more and more of it because there's been a permanent embrace-ment of this new paradigm.

Mariam Sobh [04:53] What companies would you say are currently the biggest players in this space? We always hear about Facebook and Google, but are there others that are overshadowed that that we don't usually talk about?

Michael Rechtin [05:03] Yeah, I mean, I would say Facebook and Google and Apple and Amazon, and Oracle and Mi-crosoft are really kind of all the largest ones. They are large enough that they actually do a lot of their own self-builds. So, they'll actually go out and buy land and build their own data cen-ters because they have the technical expertise to do that and they also know what they want to be built. But frankly, they can't keep up with that, so they're having to engage with devel-opers to build for them, you know, inspect- but, not inspect them, but build a suit-type ar-rangements where they'll contract with a developer to build them several data centers. And they are really the cutting edge. So really, as a developer of data centers, you– best situation is you link up with one of these huge technology companies and become one of their preferred builders, because they build very, very large data centers, and are able to use economies of scale to, to, you know, frankly, make a lot of money. So, what we used to see before in the in-dustry was not as much of that. We saw more kind of sort of enterprise companies, whether they were banks, or you know, insurance companies or law firms or whatever, who would have small, smaller deployments into data centers that would be multi tenant facilities. We see less and less of that now.

Mariam Sobh [06:20] Do landlords of data centers try to get as many companies into their spaces or are there a lot of restrictions they have to contend with to satisfy a tenant?

Michael Rechtin [06:29] Yeah, most of these technology companies really don't want to be next to or in the same facili-ty as the other technology companies for a few different reasons. They're concerned about the proprietary nature of what they're doing. So that leads to often one technology company in it building by itself. Some of them don't care as much, though. I would say that the maybe the Facebook's of the world, or LinkedIn's are less concerned about it, but the other companies tend to. So, you don't see them really co-locate with each other. But I will say that most of the technology companies, they really have three different sizes of data centers. They have their really large data centers where they're going to occupy that by themselves. They'll have this really small deployments, which are they'll actually be in a situation where there's others in that same facility. These are sort of the network operation-type data centers that are in more urban environments where they're mostly there just to kind of connect fiber traffic. And then there's kind of the middle sized ones where Google will build a really large data center in the middle of Iowa. And then they'll have in Chicago, sort of these smaller deployments for the networking purposes, but kind of in-between, they'll have these medium sized deployments that are often not their own built data centers, but their colocation facilities where they'll actu-ally cohabitate with other tenants there. But one thing that they don't want to see happen is that that data center that they're leasing space from is then sold to one of their competitors. So, let's say Google and Microsoft are big competitors for cloud reasons. And if Google was in a data center, they wouldn't want Microsoft to own that data center because as the landlord of that data center, you have potential access to your space and then you can kind of spy on what they're doing.

Speaker 5 [08:16] So, what does my data going through a data center mean to me? It's such an intangible thing, but like, you know, the cloud and all of that, that it's just data floating around you. So although it has outlets of that passes through, like kind of, let's say wires, and I don't know, buildings where hard drives are stored, it's still very much like a concept that is like, so odd to me that it's just floating around us and traveling.

Mariam Sobh [08:45] Well, that makes me wonder about like just security purposes of keeping your data secure. How do data centers operate like that, in a secure way?

Michael Rechtin [08:54] Yeah, I think the thing that is most important is to kind of limit the amount of access to a data center. And so often, you see these really large data centers, half a million square foot data center that employs five people at a time. There's really like nobody there. There's like a secu-rity operation, and maybe a couple of engineers hanging around. But the less people you have in there, the better. And so security is very, very important. If you've ever been into one, it's not an easy process to get in, and you have to be on list and you have to be fingerprinted and you have to do background checks and all types of stuff.

Mariam Sobh [09:27] Is it easier to have a secure data center in a rural setting versus a big city? Cause it sounds like there's a lot of things that that need to be taken into account.

Michael Rechtin [09:36] Yeah, and so that's why you have a lot of good reasons to be in a rural area. It's inexpensive land, you can buy a lot of land and sort of surround yourself with a lot of land and kind of con-centrate your data centers in the middle so those fences keep people further away. So, that's– there's a lot of good reasons to be in a rural area. But the only problem with a rural ar-ea is can you get the power to the data center? And power is incredibly important because you have to run them both the servers, but also the cooling equipment, very expensive to do and you need a lot of power for that. And also kind of getting the fiber all the way to the rural areas, too, can be tough because rural Iowa just doesn't have a lot of fiber access. And so you have to actually pull that fiber from someplace. And so that can be a pretty expensive proposition. There's a number of good sized data centers in Chicago, but they're just less se-cure by, by nature. It's just a different environment. They try to secure them as much as they can. But the thing is, if you're trading on the Chicago Board of Trade, you want to be as close as possible to those servers. If the customer is yourself as a trading firm and you want to ex-ecute those trades first and in front of everybody else, you'll pay a premium to be as physical-ly close to the exchanges match engine servers as possible. So it's pretty, pretty remarkable. There's a data center in Chicago on Cermak Road that's owned by Digital Realty Trust. And it's about a million square feet and it's filled with trading firms. Within those– in that data cen-ter are these exchanges match engine servers. So, you pay an increasing premium the closer you physically get. So if you're 100 feet away, you pay X. If you're 15 feet away, you pay 3X. And so it's, it's because you can trade, you know, microseconds faster than your competitor.

Mariam Sobh [11:23] When it comes to investing in data centers, Michael, I'm curious about if a company, for ex-ample, handles data for a government contract, would that data center be off-limits to a for-eign investor?

Michael Rechtin [11:36] Yeah, not necessarily off-limits. But yeah, it could be. So, so, CFIUS, which is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, they're really trying to protect the United States from some nefarious foreign government from owning a toll bridge or a military installation or port or something like that. But actually, CFIUS also covers data centers. And so interestingly, a few years ago, I was representing an Australian investment bank, who was buying a portfolio of data centers from a United States-based data center developer. And in one of those data centers was a very big name military contractor. And so because of that, it triggered a CFIUS compliance obligation. So we had to send an application to this committee to say, 'Hey, is it okay if our Australian-based investor owns this data center?' And that caused a delay in the transaction. And the seller said, 'You know what? We're sure this will probably get approved, but we're not going to wait around 120 days that CFIUS has to look at this. So we're actually going to push you out as a buyer. Go away.' And then they ended up selling it to somebody who was United States-based company. So, it is actually really important.

Mariam Sobh [12:47] Well, Michael, from what I understand data centers aren't the greenest structures in the world, and they operate 24 hours a day, run on diesel, sometimes emit a low hum, I wonder what the sector is doing to meet the demands of climate change as we manage our new reali-ty?

Michael Rechtin [13:01] Yeah, it was initially driven by the big tech companies. So, the big tech companies all are trying to be as carbon neutral as possible. And so when that happens, you want to work with a company like Facebook. And these other large companies, they're saying, 'Same thing for you, developer. You need to find renewable sources for the energy that you're going to provide me.' And that could be in the form of buying credits. So the industry five years ago, nobody was caring about it at all. It was expensive to do. But now everybody's willing to kind of pay that extra cost. And you pass along that cost to the tenants. And so really trying to get green as fast as possible because they are not very clean operations without that renewable aspect to them.

Speaker 5 [13:45] Like, I didn't know that that was backed up by diesel and stuff like, I feel like it's offered up as a green solution, like, oh, we'll do it online instead of doing it in-person or on paper. Yeah, there is still a physical consequence to it.

Mariam Sobh [13:59] I think that our love for data is probably just going to increase. We're addicted to the internet. And I wonder, are consumers and the companies they support to blame in any way? Should they be more aware of what their love of Instagram or Angry Birds is doing to their community?

Michael Rechtin [14:15] Yeah, I mean, that's, that's, that's such a hard one. It was, you know– I'm torn. personally, because I'm in the industry, and the industry helps me make a living. But yeah, there's the you know– and I have a couple of teenage daughters who spend too much time on Instagram. So I think that that's going to be hard to unwind. And I think that 5G and, you know, 4K televi-sion, all of that kind of sophisticated technologies will require larger and more data centers. And so more power for the computer servers and just more of them and more storage capaci-ty. So, I think that it's going to be impossible to kind of ratchet this down. I'm seeing more kind of consolidation, though. Probably 10 years ago, there were four or five companies that really built data centers at scale. Now, there's like 20 or 25. And what's happening is the sort of smaller companies will build a portfolio data centers in them, but then be gobbled up by the larger companies. And it’s just very interesting industry, but still very small. There's still, you know, only a few thousand people in the United States who are probably really super active in it.

Speaker 5 [15:22] You download apps or on social media all the time that you don't really know where that's necessarily going or that it's stored for years and years. And I do, I do worry for our age group, like we've been on the internet, since we're like 11, 12-years-old. And when you're that age, you just kind of put whatever out there because you're not really sure of consequences.

Speaker 2 [15:40] Yeah.

Speaker 5 [15:40] And it does kind of worry me that maybe, like, not that there's anything like crazy out there. But.

Speaker 6 [15:45] But still, it's like, you're still giving away parts of yourself, and.

Mariam Sobh [15:50] Well, as we wrap up, Michael, are you seeing any trends, good or bad, that we can expect to see when it comes to data centers over the next few years?

Michael Rechtin [15:57] I think that a good trend is that people are more, you know, communities and others are more focused on in. So, I think that that's going to be a healthy thing for the data center industries. Sort of like, where should we put these things? What's the– where's an appropriate place to put these? And so I think with the, the new infrastructure bill that was passed recently is going to create a lot of opportunity for fiber to be put into more rural areas. So, I think we'll see more and more kind of ex-urban and then rural data center development that'll have the same amount of network connectivity that you really need in order to have a successful data center. And I think that the infrastructure bill is going to help that happen. And that's a good thing.

Mariam Sobh [16:34] Thanks, Michael. It's been a pleasure to speak with you. In just a moment, I'll be joined by Rob Walters, Principal Data Centers Sales and Leasing at Avison Young, with over a decade and a half of experience in commercial real estate. But first, a quick reminder. You're listening to Changing Places, brought to you by Avison Young, a show that continues to explore and question our complex relationship with the built world around us. My name is Miriam Sobh. This episode is looking at data centers and how that industry is changing to meet our needs. If you like what you're hearing, I encourage you to tell your friends about us or hey, maybe leave us a quick review? We'd love to hear from you. When was the last time you considered how data reached your phone or television screen? Are you super tuned in with the issues sur-rounding data centers? Or does it cease to exist once you close your laptop? Or do you think the whole sector should be seen and not heard? Well, no matter which side of the server you're on, I'm sure all of us know a little bit more about how and why data centers are at the center of our daily lives.

Speaker 1 [17:36] I think the data centers with this new technology coming out, they should be able to do some-thing because I think to get everyone to lower their usage of a smartphone or whatever is a bit too much to ask for the world right now. You can't get someone to stop doing that.

Speaker 2 [17:51] So when you say do something, you mean they need to get greener?

Speaker 1 [17:54] Yeah, they need to get greener cause it's a bit too late now cause the whole world runs on. If you don't have internet, you can't really function.

Speaker 5 [18:01] Would I be willing to lower my use of streaming services, apps, and delivery services? Um, probably not. I think I'd be more inclined to reduce other things like air travel or– well, I already don't eat meat, but maybe going vegan before I would stop using the internet for those kind of things.

Speaker 7 [18:23] I personally would like to lower my use of streaming services. But I think that we have to move towards a more sustainable method of productions in, in the running of data centers.

Mariam Sobh [18:35] Our next guest, Rob Walters, has over a decade and a half experience in commercial real es-tate with many years in the data center sector. He's going to give us his unique vantage point along with what he's seeing, hearing, and predicting for the industry going forward. Rob Wal-ters, welcome to Changing Places.

Rob Walters [18:52] Nice to be here, Mariam. Thanks for have me.

Mariam Sobh [18:55] Rob, I think it's safe to say that whether people realize it or not, data centers are having a moment right now, thanks to things like work from home, online shopping, and everyone being more connected to the internet 24/7. If we zoom out to look at the sector from a 10,000 foot view, what does it look like for those operating in the sector right now?

Rob Walters [19:15] There are drivers in the market right now that are really exciting, you know, things like 5G, au-tonomous vehicles, web 3.0 with the metaverse. There's one statistic out there that says in-side the next three to four years, the amount of data that exists in the market in the world to-day will double. And so, if you think about that, it really lends itself to, to just significant de-mand on a going forward basis. So, the big technology companies– the, the Amazon's, the Google's, the Microsoft's, the big hyperscalers, those folks are trying to essentially service their customers and create technology solutions that really can push that content, push that digital infrastructure, push those services for the largest segment of the population in the quickest amount of time. So, you have this, this data creation and the hyperscalars trying to service their customers. So, for me, it's a whole lot of runway and I just think there's a whole lot of opportunity in the space.

Mariam Sobh [20:17] Do you see that there's long-term growth for this? Or is this something that is going to rapidly change?

Rob Walters [20:23] Well, famous last words, I know, you know, I'll be proven wrong. But to me and in our busi-ness, we're paid to be optimist. But I do see the signs. I think it's long-term. It'll morph, it'll change for a number of different factors. But I just see, I see technology changing. But I also see our demand for data, our demand for content, our demand for these services, like stream-ing, like gaming, like web 3.0, like blockchain. Again, technology will evolve to accommodate these new services and applications. But that demand, I don't see slowing down anytime soon.

Mariam Sobh [20:57] Was this forced to move quicker because of the pandemic, do you think? Or has it always been on this trajectory?

Rob Walters [21:04] Look, it's a great question. I mean, historically, it was happening prior to the pandemic, no doubt about it. It's been accelerated since March of 2020. If you just look at the companies moving a lot of their applications to the cloud, the federal government modernizing their IT ap-plications, moving to the cloud. Social media– I have two daughters, TikTok is a thing in our home, right. And so the social media, as well as the gaming services, a lot of that, that demand those new applications that were entering the commercial market, that ultimately were being pushed to that large segment of the population. That was kind of happening pre pandemic. And then I just think, now, when everyone was at home or working remotely, it's just acceler-ated what I would say is all that tech and, frankly, the creation of a whole new set of applica-tions to accommodate folks not only to be entertained remotely, but, but work remotely. So, just some quick thoughts there.

Mariam Sobh [22:02] How are things continuing to evolve when it comes to the many stakeholders in this sector?

Rob Walters [22:06] From a occupier and user perspective, when I speak to those folks– that's the the Amazon's, the Microsoft's, the Oracle's, essentially anyone that is putting their application into a data center and looking to service the customer– their applications are getting more dense, and they're trying to reach a larger segment of the population. They want larger campus environ-ments, larger floor plates, more power to just create ultimate flexibility for the services that they're pushing. And given population demand, given changes of where the population is now residing, they're trying to push a lot of those digital infrastructure services and applications to secondary markets. And those are sometimes called the edge markets. From an operator de-veloper perspective, there's so much capital chasing this space, trying to figure out a way into the sector. And so a lot of the public operator developers, like Equinix, like a Digital Realty, they're trying to use those public dollars to get ahead of the supply chain to get ahead of fu-ture development by land banking, acquiring more land to meet future demand.

Mariam Sobh [23:16] So, would it be fair to say that these data centers are following population growth or places that have the highest concentration of industry and residents?

Rob Walters [23:25] I think it's a great question. Certainly, as the push goes into these edge markets, a part of it is absolutely given change of population. I think I saw a stat the other day that San Francisco lost 17 percent of their population and probably terries, and that, you know, elsewhere in the southwest. And so that's not lost on whether it's the end user or these developer operators. That explains why Phoenix is very active right now and prospects over the next couple of years are really good for them. And that's probably because folks relocating from elsewhere in the country. I think time will tell. I mean, there's there's other, there's other issues like supply chain, and how that's affecting where data centers are being built, or climate change, and where that ultimately will affect data centers being built. In a perfect world, you'd love to build 500,000 foot or million foot data center campus in Manhattan, or other urban type areas. But that's just not realistic.

Mariam Sobh [24:19] Are local communities or governments involved in decisions about data centers being built in their area? Or is it pretty much just the folks who are running them buy the land and build

Rob Walters [24:28] They're absolutely involved in and more today than yesterday, and certainly more tomorrow than, than today. And I think if you just look at it from two different perspectives. From a rural perspective, where you mentioned Facebook and the like that are building larger campuses in rural areas, I mean, it's a great opportunity for those local and state governments to attract a very well respected name. But it's, it's a job creation, it’s a tax revenue generator. They are taking a different stance than they had the last few years. And the very least, think about it from a design perspective, where it used to be okay to just put up, for lack of a better word or term, concrete box. Now, you're seeing some other design elements– hardscape, green-scape, but also, you know, implementing some glass and some other architectural features to the facade of the of the data center that these local governments are, are weighing in because they want them to be attractive in their communities. They think they're an eyesore or they're taxing the utility grid, they're, they're eating up other utilities like water and sewer, you know, things of that nature, they're starting to dig in and really trying to basically chart a path on where they want these developments, how much of it, and what that all looks like. So from a data center perspective, if I'm a developer operator and user, like, I'm trying to figure out the happy medium there, if you will, because the data centers, to their credit, they create a ton of jobs, they provide a lot of tax revenues to these various jurisdictions at the local and state level. Significant– hundreds of millions of dollars a year. So, there are some benefits. I just think it's, it’s all part of sitting down and figuring out where the development should be and what that looks like.

Speaker 3 [26:13] You know, like how bad NFT's are for our environment. Like, I don't know much about it, but I was being told that just how bad the carbon footprint of NFT's are and it's just insane.

Mariam Sobh [26:22] I do want to talk a little bit about resources, as you mentioned. For example, with, with tech-nology rapidly changing and now there's mining for cryptocurrency, for example, that takes a lot of data and can have a strain, I guess, on the sector and its resources. How can the sector remain competitive or viable when technology and its uses continue to evolve past and be-yond what it was built for?

Rob Walters [26:42] Yeah, crypto, the blockchain, web 3, I mean, it's all, it's all wild. Well, here's what I would say is what's most important to these folks is availability, a significant amount, and reliable power, and cheap power. So, those areas in the country that can offer the cheapest power, and you're able to, to get a fair amount of power in a relatively short period of time, is the preferred location for the crypto currency, you know, these these mining operations, if you'd will. You know, it's Northern Virginia, Loudoun County or bust. That– crypto, the mining operations, probably would shy away nine out of 10 times from Northern Virginia.

Speaker 9 [27:27] I have heard that these data centers use up a hell of a lot of electricity. I heard about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and how those data centers use, use a lot of fuel and energy.

Mariam Sobh [27:40] Would access to cheap power continue to be sustainable if data centers consume more of it? Is it sort of a toss up here?

Rob Walters [27:47] I think it's a concern. If we go down that road a little bit further, to me, then it would be loca-tions that have power today. And if it is a concern, it become constrained at some point in the future. What ability do you have in the immediate area to identify clean energy solutions, right, whether it's solar wind or others, where that would be the solution to hopefully solve the issue here.

Mariam Sobh [28:11] When it comes to fiber, is more fiber being laid in order to meet future demand in this space? Are we going to move beyond fiber to something else?

Rob Walters [28:19] We certainly will, right. And I think connectivity and power are hand-in-hand. And so you know, the markets with best connectivity are getting the lion's share of demand from the market right now. Yes, there's, there's absolutely more fiber connectivity being laid. You know, it's getting harder, just given easements and capacity, etc. in some of the major markets. But you're seeing in the secondary edge markets, you're seeing robust routes being laid on a daily basis. And obviously overseas with some of the big technology companies have been laying, laying new cable– subsea cable to and from Europe. So, look, it's exciting. It's absolutely a challenge, though, for sure.

Mariam Sobh [29:01] Well, as we wrap up, Rob, are you seeing any trends, good or bad, that we can expect to see when it comes to data centers over the next few years?

Rob Walters [20:09] Well, look, from an investment perspective, there's no shortage of capital, as we briefly dis-cussed. I think that will continue, and it will fund new entrants. I think there'll be continued M&A. I think the amount of mergers and acquisitions that occurred in '21 is three fold the amount that occurred in 2019, just two short years ago. So, so expect a continued uptick in investment into the space from all sectors. From a design perspective, look, I think multi-story data center campuses– two, three, potentially even four story, even in suburban locations, in the, in the more mature markets, you're gonna see a lot of that. Larger floor plates, flexibility in design. I think that's what the hyperscalars who drive 90 percent of the demand are seeking. And they want solutions and developer operators that can, that can accommodate those, those solutions for those folks. But again, no shortage of demand, and we just, we feel really bullish on, on the next, you know, two to five years.

Mariam Sobh [30:07] Thank you so much, Rob. I'd like to thank Michael Rechtin and Rob Walters for taking the time to guide us through the amazingly intricate world of data centers. I don't know that I'll ever use my phone the same way again, whether I'm dashing off a quick text message or binge watch "Lost in Space" on Netflix. As the world continues to become more connected while pushing the boundaries of what a data center can handle, I think we can all agree that a million different decisions change the way our world reacts to us. Join us next week as we discuss ESG with a deep dive into sustainability into what it means for our neighborhoods, cities, and ultimately, the built world around us. It's a really big topic, but I know, you'll learn a lot from the experts who will guide us through the deeper concept. Let me tell you one thing, it's not as simple as it seems. And don't forget to follow us and tune in next week. I'm Miriam Sobh, and this is Changing Places, brought to you by Avison Young. See places changing and evolving in your neighborhood? Share your evolving spaces with us on social media using the hashtag #changingplacespodcast. I'm Mariam Sobh, and this is Changing Places. Changing Places is brought to you by Avison Young. Our Producer is Andrew Pemberton-Fowler. Our Sound Engineer is Patrick Emile. Our Production Assistant is Gabriella Mrozowski. Additional production support is provided by JAR Audio.

Subscribe to receive Avison Young podcast updates

Related episodes from Avison Young podcast

Subscribe in your favorite podcast app.