Booming Chicago data center construction causes vacancy rates to quadruple

The region added 57 megawatts of capacity since last year

(Credit: iStock)
(Credit: iStock)

A surge in the construction of Chicago-area data centers has ballooned the industry’s regional vacancy rate from 2 percent to 11 percent since last year.

Pushed by businesses’ growing demand for cloud-computing storage, developers built almost 57 megawatts of capacity — enough to power more than 16,000 homes — around the metro area since last year, according to CBRE data reported in Crain’s. That’s about twice the region’s typical annual pace of data center construction.

Digital Realty accounted for the bulk of the expansion when it built a 305,000-square-foot data center in Elk Grove Village in fall 2018, adding about 29 megawatts of capacity. And ComEd broke ground last year on an expansion to its substation in Itasca, aiming to add 180 megawatts of capacity by the end of 2019.

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Chicago is the third-largest market in the nation for data centers, behind only Northern Virginia and Dallas.

Last month, CIM Group and 1547 Critical Systems Realty bought a 220,000-square-foot baking plant on Chicago’s Near South Side and announced plans to redevelop it into a 24-megawatt data center. []

IPI Partners, meanwhile, bought a 10-megawatt Elk Grove Village data center for $118.9 million from T5 Data Centers. [Crain’s]Alex Nitkin