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QTS Chicago: Making an Impact In a Busy Market

By Luke Smith · 7/14/2016

QTS has officially entered the Chicago data center market by redeveloping the former Chicago Sun-Times Printing facility. Located just a few miles south of the Financial District in downtown Chicago, the new QTS data center delivers the Phase I this week (48,000 SF of commissioned data center space/2.0 MW expandable to 8.0 MW) following the acquisition in late 2014. Here is why it matters –

Data Center Users Like the Chicago Market

The city’s business climate, density of Fortune 500 companies, and low natural disaster risk are reasons why data center users find the data center landscape in Chicago attractive. The recent data center activity has come from a wide variety of users, but the primary growth is generated from Fortune 500 companies, the strengthening Chicago financial institutions, and cloud providers. These user types typically have large data center needs, leading to several larger transactions executed in Chicago in recent quarters, both downtown and in the Chicago suburbs. The location gives QTS direct access to the large number of businesses downtown who prefer to be close to their IT infrastructure.

Available Capacity In Chicago Today is Positive

Chicago is currently one of the most active data center markets in the US. Data center operators in the Windy City have commissioned over 40 MW since Q3 2015 in response to the increased demand from enterprise and large scale cloud operators. Chicago will continue to get looks from these type of requirements in the near future.

Data Center Users Typically Grow, and QTS Can Accommodate.

The new QTS data center sits on 30 acres near downtown. While the initial building constructed is 317,000 SF, QTS can add an additional future data center on the remaining land based on user demand. QTS also has plans to install an on-site substation, potentially doubling the power capacity on the site. Power to 2800 South Ashland is currently provided by dual feeds from ComEd's Quarry substation along with a third emergency utility line coming from the Crawford substation.

The Facility Will Be Connected.

QTS will have five carriers in the building day one, with many more to come. They also have connection to the 350 E Cermak fiber ring, providing additional connectivity options.

Efficiency is Driving the Development.

Data center operators continue to grow in their ability to construct and operate efficient facilities. QTS intends to do this through the use of Kyoto air chillers. These air chillers provide highly efficient cooling operations in the data center without utilizing water, eliminating the risk of damage from leaks. The waterless Kyoto chillers also represent an eco-friendly option, saving millions of gallons of water while providing a very low PUE (power usage effectiveness, a metric that measures data center efficiency).

With this new addition to their portfolio, QTS is poised to make an impact. The Chicago market has seen a flurry of activity and available data center capacity is highly valued. This new facility is an attractive option to data center users in Chicago, giving QTS an edge in an already competitive market.

Other Notable Chicago Market Activity

  • Digital Realty - After continued success at their Franklin Park campus, Digital Realty is developing 9377 W Grand Avenue, their third building on their Chicago suburb campus. At full build, the 176,000 SF facility can accommodate 12.8 – 16.0 MW of commissioned power, and the first phase will be operational by Q1 2017.

  • DuPont Fabros - DFT delivered CH2 Phase II in Q1 2016 (6.3 MW/35k SF), and are anticipated to deliver Phase III in Q3 2016 (11.3 MW/88k SF). DuPont announced in Q1 that Phase III critical load was already 89% leased. We anticipate construction will begin soon on DFT’s CH3 (25.6 MW/156k SF).
  • CyrusOne - CyrusOne’s Q1 $130M acquisition of the CME Group’s data center in Chicago provided them with an immediate presence in this major market with an anchor tenant. CyrusOne has announced plans in Q2 to build a 500,000 SF building on the additional 15 acres CONE picked up during the purchase.
  • Forsythe – Forsythe is another example of the large data center projects under development in the suburbs. Available power capacity is available for lease today, with plans to add an additional 16.8 MW. The power available today and the ability to expand in the future represents heavy value in a market where vacancy is absorbed quickly.
  • Server Farm – Server Farm has a large, purpose built 20 MW data center in downtown Chicago. Server Farm is focused on pursuing large deals in the facility, whether from enterprise users or the major cloud providers looking to expand.
  • Other Providers active in the Chicago Data Center Market include: 365 Data Centers, 1547 Realty, Ascent Data Centers, ByteGrid, CenturyLink, Continuum, CoreSite, Equinix, and TierPoint

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