Hickory’s latest strategic move will see the builder developing data centres, having recently purchased land in Melbourne’s west for its first foray into the field.
The 36-megawatt data centre will be located on a 3.5 hectare site in Truganina, and is slated to begin construction later this year.
Hickory’s investment in the burgeoning sector is made more apparent by its choice to headhunt a key leadership team to oversee the delivery of the development.
The $500 million data centre will be self-funded, and at present has no tenant attached.
Hickory has plans to build a second data centre adjacent to the first, if the first, 25,000 square metre space is tenanted.
Joel O’Halloran, Hickory Data Centres chief executive, said the vision for the strategic move is to provide hyper-scale centres for ecommerce companies and cloud service companies, and meet growing demand for data centres in Melbourne.
Hickory director Michael Argyrou said the inspiration for the shift into the sector came about as a result of the company’s partnership with Mace.
Mace licensed Hickory’s patented pre-fab construction technique, the Hickory Building System, in 2019 to construct data centres across Europe.
“Mace has been talking to us over the past five years about data centres. They’ve got a very, very experienced data centre delivery team in their business and we’ve been collaborating for a number of years,” Mr Argyrou said.
HIckory will partner with Mace for the construction of the first data centre, and is in discussions to expand the partnership across Australia and New Zealand, and potentially into other countries across the APAC region.
The decision to diversify Hickory’s pipeline was already in the works, but was sped along out of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We [had] decided over the past few years [to] become a joint venture partner with our clients in developments,” Mr Argyrou said.
Because of this, Hickory had been seeking opportunities where it could own all aspects of a development project, to be the developer, builder, landowner and operator, across a number of sectors.
“But quite frankly it wasn’t until our COVID lockdown when we thought our work was going to dry up that we actually took Mace up on their advice to go in the data centre direction,” Mr Argyrou said.
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