One of the biggest data center owners in America is investing in Chicago’s Franklin Park-area for a second time. Digital Realty Trust Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, has purchased a former Motorola headquarters in the western-Chicago suburb with an eye on turning the nearly 20-acre site into a data center. The development of this new data center will break ground just west of a site Digital Realty paid over $20 million for in June and currently has under construction.
John Schneider, Franklin Park’s director of community development and zoning, thinks the new data center could end up being just as big as the existing one.
“We’re pretty pumped about it,” he said. “This is especially good because it diversifies the economy, it diversifies the buildings.”
Digital Realty is no stranger to Chicago. In 2005, the data center provider shelled out over $142 million for a 1.1 million square foot data center near McCormick place. Digital Realty’s continued investment in the Windy City underscores Chicago’s reputation as one of the biggest data center markets in the country right now. Despite the growing demand for data center space, Chicagoland appears to lack an equitable amount of supply.
Jim Kerrigan, managing principal at brokerage firm North American Data Centers, told Chicago Business that despite being a popular location for data center development, Chicago is “one of the most underserved markets in the country.”
“Despite a number of new projects being announced this year, none of the developers are building enough technical space to meet the demand of the larger cloud providers,” said Kerrigan.
The cloud boom certainly isn’t slowing down, especially as consumer streaming continues to rise and companies like Netflix continue to have their way. It remains to be seen if data center providers can find enough available sites – in Chicago and everywhere else – to accommodate consumer demand and enterprise growth.
For another look at how the cloud is driving telecom trends, check out our article covering Amazon Web Services’ record-breaking second quarter.