City gives Mesa data center big parking break | News

By Scott Shumaker, Tribune Staff Writer
4 Min Read

The Mesa Board of Adjustment signed off on a Special Use Permit last week allowing data center operator EdgeConnex to build 287 parking spaces instead of the required 1,230 on its planned 80-acre data center campus – a 76%reduction.

The company said the campus will have no more than 61 employees on site at any one time among between the three industrial buildings totaling over 1 million square feet.

The project is located near the northwest corner of Elliot Road and the Loop 202 in southeast Mesa.

By comparison, Amazon’s recently opened distribution center directly south of the EdgeConneX started operations with 650 employees, with plans to eventually employ 800 to 1,300 workers.

The size of the parking reduction requested by EdgeConneX and the numbers in an accompanying parking study highlight one of the reasons city leaders want to slow the pace of data center development: the centers eat up acreage but add a paltry number of jobs to the local economy.

The 1,230-space requirement for the current Light Industrial zoning is set by the square footage of the buildings in the project. The guideline is one space per 900 square feet for a data center’s zoning classification.

According to the parking study submitted by EdgeConnex, the campus is expected to have a total 93 employees between the day and night shifts.

The smallest of the three buildings on the EdgeConneX project – 250,000 square feet – will house just 16 bodies during the day, 10 at night.

Documents submitted by EdgeConneX called the reduction a “right-sized parking solution and does not add excessive heat-island paving where it is not needed. … It is a thoughtful consideration to conserve open space over excessive and unneeded parking.”

The narrative also compared its impacts favorably with the more employee-dense Amazon warehouse to the south.

“The light vehicular traffic of a data hall will invoke serenity, a good contrast to a distribution center where trucks and traffic are more commonplace,” it stated.

Members of the board of adjustment raised only a few concerns.

Seeing that the required parking was going down by almost 1,000 spaces, board member Ethel Hoffman wanted confirmation that this reduction was in line with those of similar projects.

A city planner said it was similar to many other data center projects.

“The parking requirements for a data center are significantly less,” the city  planner told the board. “It’s common with every single data center development that we’ve seen that they’ve requested a similar level of parking reduction.”

Vice Chair Shelly Allen wanted to know if the 287 spaces could accommodate future expansions on the campus.

The planner believed that with roughly 90 employees estimated currently, the requested spaces would give the applicant plenty of buffer for future expansions. 

By Scott Shumaker, Tribune Staff Writer

2024-01-07 07:00:00 , – Vivrr Local Results in news of type article

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