Ascendas India Trust investing $161m for phase one of India data centre campus

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Singapore’s Ascendas Property Fund Trustee Pte Ltd, the trustee-manager of Ascendas India Trust (a-iTrust), announced that it will be investing Rs1,200 crore ($161 million) to develop and operate phase one of its first data centre campus in India.

The campus, which will be one of the largest data centre campuses in Airoli, a growing data centre hub in Navi Mumbai, will be developed in a 6.6-acre greenfield site. It will have a total potential built-up area of up to 575,000 square feet and 90 megawatts of power.

The data centre campus will comprise two buildings. In phase one, the first building will have a built-up area of about 325,000 square feet. It is scheduled to be ready by Q2 2024.

“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, CEO of the trustee-manager of a-iTrust.

According to a-iTrust, demand for data centres in India is rising due to improving technology infrastructure and increasing adoption of new technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud, and the Internet of Things.

The data centre campus site that a-iTrust is acquiring is situated in a prime location along Thane-Belapur Road, easily accessible from Mumbai city via the Eastern Express Highway.

Navi Mumbai has emerged as a preferred data centre location since it offers proximity to sea cable landing stations, larger land parcels with clear title, abundant and scalable power, developed infrastructure, among others.

The acquisition of the site from third-party vendors is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2021.

In March, a-iTrust’s trustee-manager entered into a purchase agreement with Gardencity Realty to acquire two buildings in an IT Park in Bengaluru.

Ascendas India Trust’s portfolio comprises seven world-class IT business parks and one logistics park in India, namely the International Tech Park Bangalore; International Tech Park Chennai and CyberVale in Chennai; International Tech Park Hyderabad, CyberPearl, and aVance in Hyderabad; and aVance in Pune and Arshiya warehouses near Mumbai.

CapitaLand, the sponsor of a-iTrust’s trustee-manager, has been actively investing in the burgeoning data centre market. In April, it acquired its first hyper scale data centre in Shanghai for about $564 million.

CapitaLand said its strategic decision to expand into new economy assets such as data centres, capitalises on the increasing global connectivity and demand for data, which has accelerated amid COVID-19.

With the new development in India, CapitaLand’s investment in data centres this year has amounted to about $1.3 billion, according to He Jihong, CEO, Data Centre, and Chief Corporate Strategy Officer at CapitaLand Group.

“India’s rising data consumption and demand for quality solutions present a good opportunity for CapitaLand’s entry into the burgeoning data centre market,” she added.