$229m ‘computer hotel’ for West Footscray

A $229 million data centre will be built in West Footscray. (Supplied) 229678_01

Goya Dmytryshchak

A $229 million data centre to be built in West Footscray has been applauded for creating 100 jobs and helping put the City of Maribyrnong on the map.

NextDC, a publicly listed Australian developer and operator of data centres, is behind the plan for 25-27 Indwe Street.

Chief executive Craig Scroggie addressed a meeting of Maribyrnong council last week, at which the application was approved.

“We essentially build all the hotels for computers that run the internet,” he said.

“This development that we are going to be undertaking with your support in Footscray will be another world class piece of technology infrastructure.

“When we make a development and an investment of this scale, it’s hundreds of millions of dollars but it becomes a core piece of technology infrastructure not just for the local community but for the state of Victoria and it’s something that we hope to be able to build on and invest in further over many decades to come.”

Mid last year, NextDC bought the site from boutique developer CostaFox, the latter which had planned to convert it into a business park.

CostaFox’s proposal had received more than 90 objections, while NextDC’s plan received five.

Mr Scroggie said his company built centres that were different to ordinary warehouse-style development.

“We build very beautiful buildings,” he said.

“We are extremely focused on our impact on the environment.

“We see the role that technology plays over time as being a leader in sustainability – we build solar arrays and wind farms and use kinetic energy rather than batteries to provide power to the computers that store all this wonderful data that we rely on today for commerce.”

He said his team had ensured the building would have a “very sympathetic design for the local residents”.

“We also want to invite those residents to have the opportunity to work with us as well,” Mr Scroggie said.

“We have many employment opportunities as a technology business … and that is customer services, security, electrical and mechanical engineers – the support of all the facilities is provided by locals.”

Mr Scroggie said there would not be many comings and goings, and visitors to the centre would have to book parking.

The proposal includes a cafe accessible to the public and 250 car spaces.

Mayor Michael Clarke said the data centre would put Maribyrnong on the map.

“This is beyond a quarter of a billion dollars investment in our city, this is one of the biggest investments that I’ve come across in our city, particularly in the area of the new technologies,” he said.

“This type of initiative would not have been seen in our city 20 years ago, not by any stretch of the imagination.

“A hundred employees, so again, employment opportunities. Hopefully those opportunities will be taken up by many of our own residents.

“It’s the type of industry that we hope for … and it’s the type of industry that we can only wish to foster going forward.

“It puts us on the map as being [a municipality] that is trying to embrace the technologies and the industry opportunities of the 21st century.”