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North Carolina Research Campus adds large-scale data center

June 13, 2013
By Caitlin McCabe
The Charlotte Observer
Posted: Thursday, Jun. 13, 2013

Kannapolis’ North Carolina Research Campus will soon offer a home to an unusual tenant: a large-scale data center.

Winston-Salem-based DataChambers, an information technology services company, announced Wednesday plans to build a 50,000 square-foot data center on the 350-acre Kannapolis campus.

DataChambers, which is owned by North State Communications, will be the first large-scale information technology company at a campus designed to focus on advancing human health, agriculture and nutrition. DataChambers is expected to employ at least 20 people, with salaries starting around $70,000. The company will begin hiring for its new facility in early 2014, said Nick Kottyan, CEO of DataChambers.

Kottyan said DataChambers was drawn to Charlotte after hearing demands for a data center that could serve the research companies and institutions at the North Carolina Research Campus.

The research site is home to the David H. Murdock Research Institute, and five corporate, two health care and nine academic partners, including General Mills Inc., LabCorp and UNC Charlotte. DataChambers is the eighteenth campus partner to join the facility since its opening in October 2008.

“The companies there will need a place to do their backups to house computer infrastructure,” said Kottyan. “It made a lot of sense to build a centralized data center to serve not just campus clients, but also clients throughout the Charlotte region.”

Kottyan said DataChambers provides data backup for clients across the country – from Seattle, Wash., to southern Florida, including in Charlotte.

The addition of DataChambers to the campus was reached in an early June deal negotiated with Castle & Cooke Inc., developer of North Carolina Research Campus. No financial details were disclosed.

“Having this data center on campus strengthens our ability to boast about (the campus’s) one-stop shop for innovation,” said Clyde Higgs, Vice President of Business Development for the North Carolina Research Campus. “With science, a lot of data information is produced, and ultimately, we need to put that data somewhere. For us, it’s an additional resource to take advantage of.”

The DataChambers facility is slated to open in the second quarter of 2014, and will provide technology services including around-the-clock network management and data backup solutions. Kottyan said DataChambers could eventually grow its campus presence to 200,000 square feet.

DataChambers is also opening a 50,000 square-foot data center in Raleigh on June 27.

The $1.5 billion North Carolina Research Campus was founded by David Murdock, chairman and CEO of Dole Foods, on the former site of the century-old Kannapolis textile complex. A 2006 study projected the campus would create 37,000 jobs by 2032, Higgs said. There are currently 600 jobs associated with the campus.

Higgs said he hopes the addition of DataChambers will entice other companies from diverse industries to the campus to collaborate with research organizations.

“We hope that this is kind of a nod to other companies that they fit the campus structure, now that a company like DataChambers is involved,” Higgs said.

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