Kansas-based data centre developer QTS Realty Trust has indicated interest in a large patch of land near Loudoun, Virginia.

The firm has entered a contract to buy the site, which measures nearly 281 acres, according to the Washington Business Journal. Confidential sources close to the deal revealed that the purchase is worth $80 million (approx. £60 million) and is expected to close in late October.

Northern Virginia is a large data centre hub in the U.S., with California-based firm Vantage recently announcing plans for a $1 billion data centre in Loudoun. That facility is to be built on a site measuring 42 acres – meaning QTS’ purchase of a 281-acre site could signal an extremely large data centre campus.

QTS already operates or manages more than five million sq. feet of data centre space in the U.S., including sites in nearby Ashburn and Dulles. The land set to be purchased by the firm has been considered for a number of uses including as a new stadium for Washington’s NFL team.

Local government officials are not entirely happy with the influx of data centre investment. At a similar time to the proposal from Vantage, another data centre project was pushed back by planning officials.

Speaking to the Washington Business Journal, Loudoun County Supervisor Ron Meyer argued for creating a mixed-use facility that would benefit the local community to a greater extent.

Meyer said: “Certainly the highest and best use within a half-mile we don’t believe to be a data centre. Our county will be doing everything we can to ensure the area within a half-mile of a Metro station will be preserved for the highest and best use.”

The site has had a troubled history. It is being sold by JLL, a real estate services firm, on behalf of the ownership group. The initial sale price was around $800,000 per acre, making a total cost of nearly $225 million, significantly more than the rumoured $80 million.

The property’s majority owner, H. Christopher Antigone, was expelled by JLL from being involved in the sale and failed two legal appeals to this expulsion.