Ascendance Partners bringing data center to Englewood development

Whole Foods-anchored project leading to more uses, including urban farm from Kimbal Musk
October 31, 2018 09:00AM

Ascendance Partners’ Craig Huffman and Englewood Square (Credit: Ascendance Partners)

Ascendance Partners is bringing a data center to Englewood, further diversifying the uses at a development anchored by Whole Foods Market.

The firm led by Chicago developer Greg Huffman has reached a preliminary deal with Metro Edge Technologies to open a 10,000-square-foot data center at the Englewood Square development at 63rd and Halsted streets, according to Crain’s.

The deal would add to the growing number of uses at the project, which officials touted as a future economic catalyst for the struggling neighborhood when it landed Whole Foods, Starbucks and Chipotle.

Ascendance has a tentative deal for a 10,000-square-foot Family Dollar store, but it also landed Square Roots, an urban farming startup from Kimbal Musk, brother of Tesla founder Elon Musk, to run a farm in shipping containers on the property.

Huffman told Crain’s he is in talks with banks about financing the second phase of the project, which would cost $25 to $30 million and include the redevelopment of a vacant firehouse on the property where Square Roots plans to take office space.

Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and DL3 Realty developed the first phase of the project with help from $10.7 million in tax-increment financing, but Ascendance is not asking for city incentives, Huffman said.

The city is spending $85 million in the neighborhood to build a new high school, combining four other schools with low enrollments into one.

The Metro Edge project would be the second data center within a couple of miles on the South Side: CIM Group and 1547 Critical Systems Realty bought a historic former South Side baking plant at 40 East Garfield Boulevard 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 is still seen as short on supply. [Crain’s] — John O’Brien