CIM Group leading South Side data center project in historic former factory

The LA developer is partnering with a New Jersey firm on the plan to convert a historic former baking plant
By John O’Brien | August 01, 2018 09:00AM

CIM Group’s Shaul Kuba and Schulze Baking Company at 40 East Garfield Boulevard (Credit: CIM Group and Eric Allix Rogers/Open House Chicago)

CIM Group and 1547 Critical Systems Realty bought a historic former South Side baking plant with plans to turn it into a 24 megawatt data center.

Chicago has grown to become the third largest market by data center inventory, but still seen as short on supply.

The plan by Los Angeles-based CIM and Matawan, New Jersey-based 1547 will help address that shortage. The duo plan to convert the 220,000-square-foot former Schulze Baking Company facility at 40 East Garfield Boulevard into the Midway Technology Centre. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The firms would not disclose the terms of the deal, but Cook County records show the property sold for $7.5 million from Chicago developer Ghian Foreman.

The deal covers the five-story former bakery and a series of parking lots on 4.69 acres, according to the developers. They said it is in an area with a number of fiber-optic paths and with connectivity to the massive data center at 350 East Cermak Road on the near South Side.

Foreman bought the property in 2006 and partnered with 1547 on a plan to create the data center in 2015 after the recession derailed his earlier plans for a commercial project on the site, Crain’s reported at the time.

Converting the building was expected to cost upwards of $130 million, with the first phase ready by 2017. The data center never materialized, though.

The property is the fourth that CIM and 1547 have acquired for data center projects in the last year, including one in San Francisco, one in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and one outside of Toronto, the developers said.

CIM is partnering with Golub & Company in Chicago on a massive redevelopment of the former Tribune Tower complex, with plans to include what would become the city’s second-tallest building.