Ascent Plans Major Chicago Data Center

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Developer Ascent Corporation is building a second huge data center in Northlake, Il., a western suburb of Chicago, the company said today. The new 250,000 square foot facility is being built adjacent to Ascent’s first Northlake property, an enormous Microsoft Corp. data center. Ascent said the new project, known as CH2, will be completed by the end of 2009.

The CH2 project represents a huge vote of confidence in the strength of the Chicago data center market, which has seen strong leasing downtown but uneven uptake in several new projects in the Western suburbs. That includes a large facility built in Elk Grove Village by another wholesale data center provider, DuPont Fabros Technology, which opened in mid-2008 and is presently 17 percent leased. Equinix also built a large colocation center in Elk Grove Village last year.

But Ascent hit a home run with its first Northlake property, which was announced in 2007 as a multi-tenant speculative project but by the end of the year was fully leased to Microsoft. The developer believes its delivery model, known as Dynamic Data Center Suites, will prove to be a winning approach, combining colocation space with custom data suites featuring dedicated tenant infrastructure.

“The new Northlake data center, CH2, is designed to be a completely flexible environment, enabling customers to choose the most appropriate option for their needs,” said Phil Horstmann, the CEO of Ascent Corporation. “Dynamic Data Center Suites represent the future of the data center – this is the first time customers will have the option to fully customize their infrastructures. Planning the new data center geographically near the 707,000 square foot facility we developed last year in Northlake also enables customers to take advantage of the same power and connectivity capabilities.”


The Dynamic Data Center Suites delivery allows customers to lease a basic powered shell or a fully constructed, turn-key space. Finished suites are fully customizable units that can maintain their own shipping and receiving docks, entrance doors, branded lobbies and personnel. Tenants can choose between a raised floor or slab envirnment, chilled water or air-side cooling, or standard racks or container-based computing units.

The new facility will feature a dedicated on-site utility substation with dual diverse connections to the transmission grid. Compute spaces in CH2 will range from 10,000-250,000+ square feet, and customers will have the option to maintain self-sufficient suites or utilize Ascent’s data center expertise throughout the build-out phase, as well as take advantage of fully managed maintenance services.

Headquartered in Saint Louis, Ascent specializes in advanced mission critical facilities and offers clients a broad range of delivery models spanning shell & core, build-to-suit, turnkey, and outsourced critical systems operations. Ascent’s clients include Fortune 500 firms, and service providers.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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