Thor Equities Taps Google’s Raj Vohra to Lead Data Center Expansion

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Thor Equities is looking to add more data centers to its portfolio after dipping a toe in the water with a facility in Spain.

To help that, Thor hired Raj Vohra, Google (GOOGL)’s former head of data center acquisitions, as its executive vice president of the data center division. At Thor, Vohra has been tasked with building upon the New York-based firm’s growth in that arena as demand has gone well beyond the available supply, according to Thor.

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“[Vorhra] has experienced the incredible growth of the data center sector over the past decade and can skillfully lead us in assembling a strong portfolio of state-of-the-art campuses across the Americas,” Thor Chief Operating Officer Melissa Gliatta said in a statement.

Vohra’s background includes a stint in Deloitte Consulting’s real estate and location strategy group before helping Google expand its portfolio of data centers by over 2 gigawatts, according to Thor.

And the booming data center sector is a new market Thor hopes to target. Thor made its first data center acquisition in 2022 with the purchase of Madrid One, a 100-megawatt facility in Madrid, Spain. Thor did not immediately disclose how much investment it plans to put toward data centers in the near term.

The rise of artificial intelligence has pushed current capacity needs for data storage to new heights, forcing developers to look to new markets far from the traditional playing field for data centers, which has been Northern Virginia. 

Plus, the construction pipeline cannot seem to keep pace with emerging markets like Phoenix, seeing only 185,052 square feet available out of 4.3 million square feet of existing space. About 1.4 million square feet is currently under construction with 6.6 million square feet in the planning phase, according to a JLL report that came out in June.

Rent for data center space on a national level is expected to skyrocket as the supply chain will likely be constrained at least until 2027, JLL (JLL) said.

Vacancy rates among data centers have also been low, with just 3.3 percent of existing space available across North America being vacant in the first half of 2023 despite a 7.2 percent increase in rent, another report from CBRE said.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.