Interxion, a Digital Realty data center services company has announced the completion and opening of the first phase of its latest Marseille facility MRS3, developed on a former World War II submarine base known as Martha.

Martha is an abandoned base and has been lying still for decades, the building which is also a bunker was built to be highly resistant to physical attacks or destructive impacts – its specifications include terraced reinforced concrete to a thickness of about 5.5 meters, the ability to withstand around 10-tonne bombs, a length of 250 meters and a 12-metre high surrounding wall.

The project was first announced last year, and Interxion said it will not only leverage the physical strength of the facility but take more advantage of its location – as Marseille is major landing destination for subsea cables that serve Europe, Africa, the Middle-East and Asia, having 14 cables currently and expecting five additional cables at least, to land within the next five years.

“With over 150 network service providers, Interxion’s Marseille campus has established itself as one of the world’s leading digital hubs for intercontinental data traffic,” said David Ruberg, Chief Executive Officer of Interxion. 

“The opening of MRS3 will offer new and existing customers expanded access to the vibrant community in Marseille, including numerous connectivity providers, digital media and cloud segments along with local as well as global enterprises.”

MRS3 is the company’s third data center in Marseille, comprising approximately 2,300 square meters at this phase. The facility is sited adjacent to Interxion’s MRS2 data center and will join the campus connectivity, as well as benefit from the existing 100% renewable energy sources.

“Given the scale of the campus, this project has been a formidable undertaking, transforming the site into a best-in-class, modern data center purpose-built to provide our customers with the digital infrastructure requirements to scale at the speed and bandwidth they need,” said Fabrice Coquio, Interxion France Managing Director.

“Thanks to the support of the local public authorities and the enthusiasm of our customers, Marseille has grown to be the world’s ninth-largest Internet hub.  Our goal is now to see the city enter the top five within the next three years.”

The company plans to have a total of 16.5MW capacity on the data center and approximately 7,100 square meters of fully equipped IT space once all three phases are completed by 2021.