AFIRE Podcast #61: Data Centers Take Center Stage

(Featuring Ben Wobschall, Managing Director, Portfolio Manager, Principal Real Estate Investors)

Data center investments have proven resilient in periods of economic volatility—and they’re only going to become more essential and important into the future.

Once viewed as a niche real estate investment, data centers have risen in popularity as the need for data storage and processing has rocketed in parallel with the amount of data consumed by individuals, businesses, and new technologies.

While pandemic-related social restrictions have accelerated data usage trends, data centers have long been vital to the global economy’s reliance on connectivity. With an attractive risk/return profile and significant barriers to entry, the industry has proven itself resilient in both good and bad economies, making high-quality data centers an increasingly attractive opportunity for real estate investors.

As the world grows increasingly interconnected, the demand for data requires more storage solutions and robust processing power. While in the past the primary purpose of data centers was to simply store data, today computing power and network connectivity have become the most important purpose for these facilities.

On this episode of the AFIRE Podcast, Ben Wobschall, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager for Principal Real Estate Investors talks about the investment opportunities in this specialized but increasingly critical sector.

Listen now on your favorite podcast service (Apple, Google, Spotify) for the full episode.

This podcast is based on the article “Data Centers, Stage Center” from Summit Journal (Spring 2021). Read the full article here.



Ben Wobschall is Managing Director and Portfolio Manager for Principal Real Estate Investors, the dedicated real estate investment group within Principal Global Investors. Principal builds on a vertically integrated platform that incorporates all disciplines of commercial real estate.

Founded in 1879 with the vision of helping people and businesses progress toward financial security, Principal Global Investors now manages more than US$820 billion of assets, which includes over US$550.6 billion of assets managed by Principal. The company is widely known for it’s global outreach and research. Principal’s real estate strategies target equity and debt investments in real property, typically involving an active management approach, seeking realized returns.

Ben joined Principal in 2004 and holds a bachelor’s degree in real estate and finance from the University of Iowa.




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