Ascendas India Trust - part of the CapitaLand real estate investment group based out of Singapore - has announced that it is investing heavily in its first data centre site in India. The campus will reportedly be one of the largest facilities in Airoli - a rapidly expanding data centre hub just outside of Navi Mumbai.
Currently, the first phase is scheduled to be operational by Q2 of 2024, and will cover an approximate footprint of 325,000 square feet, representing more than half of the total campus’ available space for data centre installations. When completed, the 6.6-acre greenfield site will have a total built up area of around 575,000 square feet, and be capable of delivering up to 90 MW of critical IT capacity.
When fully developed, the campus will have an overall capacity to host approximately 8,500 racks and operate at a PUE of approximately 1.4. Ascendas has reportedly set aside $216.6mn to purchase and develop the site. It’s likely that this initial investment just covers the first development phase, and will require further capital injections later.
The move is the latest in a string or real estate funds dipping their toes (and enthusiastically diving headfirst) into the data centre industry - where the combination of the stability provided by concrete physical assets, combined with the vibrancy of digital infrastructure, interconnection, and tech, is making for a high-growth yet stable investment. This is particularly true in light of both the COVID-19 pandemic (which caused the amounts of data being processed around the world to spike last year) and the adoption of new, data-intensive technologies like 5G, IoT, AI, and increasingly powerful data analytics applications.
“Our entry into the data centre sector in India will diversify a-iTrust’s portfolio into an attractive and highly scalable asset class,” said Sanjeev Dasgupta, Chief Executive Officer of the Trustee-Manager of Ascendas India Trust in a statement. He added that, with India currently holding the position of second-fastest growing digital economy in the world, the country’s “ large market size combined with the increasing trends towards data localisation validates our market entry strategy.”
He added that the company’s move into data centres was part of a larger push by Ascendas to “improve our portfolio resilience through diversification into new economy asset classes such as data centres and life sciences.”
Demand for data centre infrastructure is on the rise globally, but is being particularly keenly felt in India, where the transition from large areas with little to no digital infrastructure, to highly digitalising industries and smart city projects, requires a much larger leap forward in terms of adoption.
“India’s rising data consumption and demand for quality solutions present a good opportunity for CapitaLand’s entry into the country’s burgeoning data centre market,” added He Jihong, Chief Executive Officer, Data Centre, and Chief Corporate Strategy Officer at CapitaLand Group.