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Equinix’s UK capital spend hits $1.4bn as French EU commissioner labels Brexit an ‘economic catastrophe’

REIT sets eyes on the UK’s second largest city to expand its footprint addressing the needs for colocation across the North of England.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

4 Mins

October 27, 2021 | 12:03 PM BST

Equinix’s UK capital spend hits $1.4bn as French EU commissioner labels Brexit an ‘economic catastrophe’

Rendering of Equinix MA5 International Business Exchange (IBX) in Manchester. Source: Equinix

US data centre operator Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) has launched a new investment in the UK as the country continues to come to grips with exiting the European Union (EU) earlier in the year.

Despite this, the real estate investment trust’s (REIT) capital expenditure (CAPEX) in the UK has now reached over US$1.37 billion with the addition of a $84 million facility in the Agecroft Commerce Park in Salford, Manchester. The new MA5 site will bring Equinix’s total investment in Manchester to over $178 million.

The city is the country’s second-largest after London and is Europe’s second-largest creative, digital and media hub, housing MediaCity UK—one of the world’s most advanced media centres and home to the BBC’s headquarters.

Manchester has also a fast-growing technology scene, noted for eCommerce, and an emerging start-up ecosystem.

Russell Poole, Managing Director, UK, Equinix, said: “This new investment is a significant addition to our existing portfolio in the UK. MA5 forms part of a wider investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure, and further cements Britain’s position as one of the most important markets globally to do business.”

The new IBX will be Equinix’s fifth data centre in the Greater Manchester area and is scheduled to open in Q2 2022.

Phase 1 is set to provide 38,750 sq ft of colocation space. Upon completion of all planned phases, the full site is expected to provide 69,750 sq ft of colocation space, with 2,000 cabinets.

UK Science and Innovation Minister George Freeman, said: “The UK is one of the world’s most digitally advanced economies. Through government and industry working together we are investing in new 5G and next-generation digital technologies to support UK businesses to build back better from the pandemic.

“Equinix’s new Manchester data centre will not only help to create well-paying jobs across Manchester and the wider North West, but will also make sure businesses have the digital technology needed to succeed and grow in global markets.”

The Manchester data centre investment comes at a time when the UK is facing several crises including workforce shortages and severe economic inflation blamed on Brexit by EU politicians.

The decision to exit the block has resulted in an “economic catastrophe” for Britain, European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said Tuesday during an interview with French broadcaster BFMTV.

“Look at what’s going on with store shelves … with the restocking of fuel … with the lack of nurses and doctors … with the truck driver shortage [and] with everything construction. What’s going on these days is a disaster,” Breton said.

The repercussions of Brexit have also been felt in the City of London, which has over the last months lost thousands of jobs and more than a trillion pounds of assets have been relocated to rivals such as Frankfurt, Paris and New York, in the wake of Brexit.

Earlier this month, Amsterdam overtook London as the main hub for trading euro-denominated shares and derivative contracts.

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Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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