Equinix (EQIX) held a grand opening today for the $175 million first phase of its new Chicago Internet Business Exchange, known as CH3. The 228,000 data center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois is the largest of the company’s 35 data centers and is the size of four football fields. In June 2006 Equinix paid $9.75 million to purchase an office/warehouse complex in Elk Grove Village from Amalgamated Bank of Chicago. The first phase of the new facility will accommodate approximately 2,500 cabinets, with a second phase to later add space for another 1,300 cabinets.
Equinix has more than 300 customers in its two existing centers in Chicago, which has become a thriving center of low-latency “proximity trading” by financial firms. “Chicago has turned out to be a phenomenal market for us,” Equinix chief business officer Margie Backaus told us in a June interview. “It’s all commodity markets and electronic exchanges. That has completely filled out our first center.” More than 67 companies are housed in the Equinix Financial eXchange platform in the Chicago center, including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, OptionsXpress, Eurex First Traders Analytical Solutions and ATOS Euronext Market Solutions.