Hilco’s plan for data center campus would add to construction surge

Northbrook firm wants to build total of 350K sf at site of former Pilsen plant

TRD CHICAGO /
Jan.January 31, 2019 12:30 PM

Hilco CEO Roberto Perez and Fisk Generating Station at 1111 West Cermak Road (Credit: Hilco and David Wilson via Flickr)

Hilco Redevelopment Partners plans to build a large data center campus on the site of a former coal-burning power plant in Pilsen. The Chicago area ranks third in the country for data center capacity.

The Northbrook-based firm earlier this month filed applications with the city for the project at the Fisk Generating Station at 1111 West Cermak Road, according to Block Club Chicago.

Hilco wants to build a 103,000-square-foot building on the north side of the property and a 247,000-square-foot building on the south side. The firm is under contract to buy the site from NRG Energy.

A surge in the construction of Chicago-area data centers ballooned the industry’s regional vacancy rate from 2 percent to 11 percent last year. Pushed by 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 in the first eight months of 2018, according to CBRE data.

In addition to the data center project at the Fisk plant site, Hilco is redeveloping the former Crawford Coal Plant in Little Village into a 1 million-square-foot logistics complex.

Both the Crawford and Fisk plants closed in 2012 after years of opposition from community groups and environmental activists. But the EPA is considering letting the Fisk plant use its “peaker” diesel generators during periods of high demands, according to Block Club. [Block Club] — John O’Brien


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