SC data center planned for Santee Cooper business park gets an “AI” upgrade
A second scuttled land deal involving the same piece of property is reaping an unexpected dividend for Santee Cooper.
The state-owned utility this week disclosed that it has lined up another buyer for a 64.5-acre parcel in its Camp Hall business park after two previous deals fell through.
The latest purchaser, a data center developer, will return to Santee Cooper a smaller nearby tract it acquired in July, at no markup, as part of the deal.
Board member Stephen Mudge, who oversees the power-and-water provider’s resource management committee, called the serendipitous turn of events “another example of something … we would never thought possible” when the 6,800-acre Camp Hall development was hatched in 2016.
“Just real pleased with the way things are going out there,” Mudge said.
The deal involves a piece of land in the northwest corner of the industrial park that investors in a cold-storage warehouse offered to acquire last year for about $16.1 million, or an $8.5 million premium — after a separate but similar proposal fell through.
Now, the latest plan is off the table,
“That did not come to fruition,” said Dan Camp, director of real estate at Santee Cooper.
But another buyer has emerged, he added.
DC Blox, which completed a $32 million overseas cable landing station in Myrtle Beach last fall and is building a fiber-trunk line between the Grand Strand and Atlanta, was committed to developing a data center in Camp Hall. It paid Santee Cooper $4.7 million for 27.5 acres last summer, but it never broke ground on the Lowcountry server farm.
“And because of the … significant increase in demand for data centers, they stepped back and said, ’Is this big enough?” Camp said.
When the larger property suddenly became available, the technology infrastructure company made an offer.
“They’re looking to exchange property they just purchased in July for this property as part of that sale,” Camp said at Monday’s board meeting.
He said DC Blox is offering $275,000 an acre, or about $17.7 million, based upon “brokers’ recommendations of what’s going on in the market.”
Also, the company will return its existing property at Camp Hall, which will reduce the sale price by $4.7 million, or what it paid six months ago.
“We get $13 million, plus the original 27.5 acres back,” Camp told. “This a reflection of the increase in demand in the market and an increase in demand for this type of use.”
The enlarged DC Blox data center footprint in Berkeley County will include three structures totaling 150,000 square feet each. The energy-intensive site also will require its own onsite electric substation.
The firm’s bigger investment is being driven “by AI,” or artificial intelligence, Camp said.
Moncks Corner-based Santee Cooper needs the General Assembly’s Joint Bond Review Committee to approve the land sale. The panel is expected to review the deal at its March meeting.
Atlanta-based DC Blox could not be reached for comment Friday.