Aligned Data Centers has been granted planning permission for a data center on the massive Quantum Loophole campus in Frederick County, Maryland.

First reported by the Frederick News-Post, the Frederick County Planning Commission last week approved the first site plan, with conditions, for the first data center on the Quantum Loophole campus.

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Aligned's plan for its plot at the Quantum Loophole campus – Aligned - Frederick County

In a 4-3 vote, the commission approved Aligned’s request to construct a 450,000-square-foot (41,800 sqm) facility - known as IAD04 - on a 75-acre plot that would feature 42 generators.

Commissioner Joel Rensberger said he would like the Frederick County Sustainability Commission to provide input, due to the facility’s power needs.

“We know that data centers are impactful, quite impactful, on everything from stormwater runoff to energy consumption and other considerations,” Rensberger said. “It would make me feel more comfortable if this was reviewed by someone who was smarter than me.”

“Nothing like this has ever come in before,” Rensberger added. “We’re outside the fence in new territory. I wouldn’t want to be... sitting here 20 years from now and my other six colleagues look at me and say, ‘You had some basic reasons to question things, why didn’t you?’”

Located some 25 miles north of Ashburn in Adamstown, the 2,200-acre, 1GW campus is centered around the former Alcoa Eastalco Works aluminum smelting plant.

The company is also creating a new 40+ mile fiber loop running from the campus south to Loudoun County's Leesburg in neighboring Virginia. Known as QLoop, the ring recently completed its second of two Potomac River crossings. The system is set to go live in Q2 2024.

In May 2022, Aligned Data Centers became the first company to publicly announce plans to develop a data center at the campus. Andrew Schaap, CEO of Aligned Data Centers, said at the time that the “attractive tax exemptions, power availability, and proximity to Northern Virginia” were key drivers in its decision to choose Frederick County.

On its website, the company originally said it was planning a total of 1.3 million sq ft (120,800 sqm) and 192MW of capacity across four multi-story buildings, each spanning 325,000 sq ft (30,200 sqm) and 48MW per facility. However, Aligned reached out to us to say it's now planning a total of 3.3 million sq ft (306,600 sqm) and 264MW.

Preliminary work has already begun work on the site. The company’s plot is located in the center of the Quantum Loophole campus, with a small number of Aligned-affiliated staff on-site as DCD was given a tour in November 2022.

Quantum Loophole has reportedly signed contracts with four other companies totaling the site’s entire 240MW phase one capacity.

The Frederick County Council this month refused to rezone roughly 223 acres in Adamstown separately-owned but immediately adjacent to the Quantum campus from agricultural use to general industrial.

The owners of the land at 3681 Cap Stine Road (aka Windridge Farm), Windridge Properties LLC, and Windridge Farm LLC, indicated that they were seeking approval to move forward on a future data center development. The council voted 6-1 to deny the rezoning request.