Amazon is reportedly looking to acquire a former Ford plant outside Cardiff, Wales.
BusinessLive and WalesOnline report AWS is in negotiations to acquire the former Ford engine plant in Bridgend. Update: DCD understands however, it may be in fact a different unit of Amazon interested in the site.
The site’s existing electricity connection to the National Grid has reportedly made it an attractive proposition as part of AWS’ strategy of ramping up its capacity in the UK.
Ford’s former engine plant in Brocastle – which extends to 1.67 million sq ft (155,150 sqm) located within a 158-acre site – was built in the 1970s ceased production in 2020, and was decommissioned in 2022.
The site is being marketed by property advisory firm CBRE, which says the site has 60MVA available.
There is reportedly a small amount of renewable infrastructure at the site which was used by Ford. The existing buildings are likely to be demolished for any new data center development.
Last year Wales Online suggested the factory site could attract interest from potential data center firms due to the availability of power at the site.
An Amazon spokesperson told BusinessLive: “We are unable to comment on rumor and speculation.”
A 110-acre neighboring plot to the Ford plant owned by the Welsh government – at one point set to see a 250,000 sq ft (23,200 sqm) automotive manufacturing and assembly plant – is reportedly under offer, likely from a data center developer.
Vantage has a major presence in Cardiff, recently announcing it had completed the first phase of its second building at the former semiconductor fabrication plant for LG Electronics. The company bought the facility from Next Generation Data in 2020. Microsoft is reportedly a major customer at the site.
Microsoft is also reportedly acquiring another part of the former LG site that is most close to Vantage’s campus for its own development.
ClearStream has a small facility outside Cardiff. In 2020 Proximity Data Centres took over a facility in Bridgend previously operated by system integrator CGI.
Amazon has a major distribution site in Swansea and last year was reportedly interested in a 50,000 sq ft space in the Port of Cardiff.
AWS in the UK
If it does acquire the Ford site, the development would mark AWS' first development in Wales.
The company currently has one UK cloud region located in the Bristol area (though it is named as 'London'). Environmental Permit filings suggest AWS also has a presence in Hemel Hempstead in a Prologis-owned building as well as at sites in Hayes, Slough, Swindon, and Bracknell.
The company last year announced it would spend £1.8 billion ($2.37bn) in the UK over the next two years on building and operating data centers. However, the company provided no details on how that money would be spent or if that means new cloud regions in the UK.
Despite the lack of clarity, Amazon appears to be working on at least four other new data center developments in the UK.
AWS seems to be working with CloudHQ to develop a data center campus at Didcot Power Station. DCD was the first to reveal AWS’ involvement in the project, while Dgtl Infra has reported CloudHQ’s involvement and the delays the project faces.
In April 2022 the company acquired an industrial logistics estate near Slough, outside London.