Local know-how for global players
“The real estate market for hyperscale and wholesale data centres has been accelerating significantly in Poland, but their development is, to some extent, littered with obstacles. Cooperation with the right local developer on such investments saves global giants a great deal of time, difficulties and some expensive surprises,” explains Oliwier Goliński, a data centre development specialist at 7R.
The warehouse developer is actively increasing its activity in the data centre segment, focusing on large-area BTS and BTO data centres. These will support the cloud giants and international data centre operators that have been growing on the wave of what are known as ‘cloud regions’, i.e. locations with a greater availability of increasingly competitive cloud-based services.
Such customers have high-level requirements, strict guidelines and often also have ready-made standardised projects from previous cross-border investments, which need to be properly and efficiently adapted to the Polish market and its conditions, because the sector is eager to deliver such a facility as quickly as possible – within approx. 18 months.
“Such deadlines are not possible without pre-development, which ensures that the permitting and utility installations are carried out according to schedule, including the contracting for the above-standard connection capacities that are crucial for data centres,” says Oliwier Goliński.
7R has a large real estate portfolio with space ready to be used data centre facilities as well as experience in providing facilities that ensure the uninterrupted operation of advanced technological infrastructure.
“Our pre-development prepares premises for use as both data centres and as warehousing. Thanks to this approach, we are able to offer space to a wide variety of clients, while minimising the risks on our side. Without this strategy, the speculative preparation of facilities suitable for use as data centres would not be possible,” adds Oliwier Goliński.
Local experience worth its weight in gold
A lack of experience of local practices, combined with the complexities of administrative processes and a lack of reliable contractors – architectural studios, general contractors and specialists in local and local government cooperation – can incur huge costs on international investors. For example, obtaining the required connection capacity on its own is not only crucial, but often a difficult, time-consuming process that requires extensive knowledge of suppliers, their procedures and capabilities. Thanks to the developer’s excellent local relationships and experience, the tenant or buyer of the data centre does not have to worry about such issues.
“This local know-how is often a decisive factor when it comes to being given the green light from utility providers, who sometimes have to rebuild the entire energy infrastructure in the area specifically for a data centre,” says Oliwier Goliński. You need to know how to make such a request and how to talk to suppliers – and without this knowledge, you could risk losing months in the project development process. “Cooperation with an experienced developer is a serious undertaking but also a major advantage in terms of costs,” he explains.
A reputation in the sector
The specificity of the market means that the timing and smoothness of the development process is strategically important and demanding for the developers themselves. Hyperscale data centres are expensive to build as they are developed according to the ‘just-in-time model’, under a tight schedule that does not allow for any major errors or delays.
In addition, the market – in spite of its enormous requirements and growth – is also very narrow: it is made up of only a dozen end-customers. This means that if developers fail to properly implement a project for one of them, they will not be able to expect further cooperation in this sector in the future.
“The stakes are high. But having experience in the development of scores of industrial projects in recent years, we know what to expect,” emphasises Oliwier Goliński.