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University of Delaware scraps data center plans

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 10, 2014 at 5:18 pm •  Published: July 10, 2014

DOVER, Del. (AP) — University of Delaware officials said Thursday that they are pulling the plug on plans for development of a data center at the former Chrysler assembly plant site in Newark.

Officials said in a statement issued by the university that an internal working group concluded that the proposed facility, which included a 279-megawatt power plant, was not consistent with plans for its Science, Technology and Advanced Research, or STAR campus.

"The university is committed to providing economic development opportunities for the region and state. ... We have carefully examined The Data Centers' plans, and have determined that they are not a good fit for the STAR campus," said UD President Patrick Harker.

The Data Centers LLC, based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, had proposed building a 900,000-square-foot data center complex with an onsite combined heat and power cogeneration facility. The university in 2012 signed a 75-year land lease with TDC that provided for further detailed review by both parties.

TDC President Gene Kern said in a written statement that the company is evaluating its options and "disagrees that the university can terminate its ground lease for the reasons stated."

The project was supported by Gov. Jack Markell as a jobs creator but drew fierce local opposition from many Newark residents, mostly over concerns about property values and noise, safety and environmental concerns related to the power plant.

"We are glad that the University of Delaware has seen the light," said Jennifer Wallace, a spokeswoman for Newark Residents Against the Power Plant, a grassroots group whose efforts included a legal challenge to local zoning decisions related to the project.

Markell spokeswoman Kelly Bachman said in a written statement that the governor remains interested in working with the university to develop the site. Bachman said "the university conducted an extensive review of the facts and came to the determination that this project is not a good fit for the STAR campus."

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