What's wrong with the Washington State data center?

Facility sits mostly empty after more than two years.

Washington state data center

It's a boom market for data centers, with almost daily announcements of new facilities being constructed and the demand for space, especially in areas known for being a technology center, often exceeding capacity, sparking even more development of data center space.

So why can't the state of Washington find a tenant for their recently built, but never used, data center halls?

Two years ago I told you about the state's search for tenants for their over-built data center space, which at that point had been going on for 18 months. Two state of the art, never used, data center halls, just looking for a tenant to come in and make them useful. Well the soon to be LEED Platinum certified building on the Olympia capitol campus has yet to be used for its designed purpose, and the state isn't talking about why that is the case.

In a story this week by KPLU's Austin Jenkins, he recounts his efforts to get a look at the empty facility, a process which apparently required signing a non-disclosure agreement to allow him to enter the secured data center space. It's a brief story, as there isn't much you can do with a tour of an empty data center space.

Jenkin's quotes Rob St John, Director of Washington's Consolidated Technology Services, as saying that they are now open to any sort of alternate use, implying that the search for an actual data center tenant has failed completely. The state's CIO, Michael Cockrill, has suggested the space would make a good Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility which he described as a safe room where classified documents can be handled, stored, and discussed.. That's government-speak for a room full of classified document filing cabinets.

Think about this: the new desired use for this modern data space is to fill it with filing cabinets filled with paper. And I'm going to guess that Mr. Cockrill was able to say that with a straight face, completely missing the irony of the situation.