Chicago's data center sector was in the spotlight this weekend when it was featured in the Chicago Sun-Times, complete with a map (PDF) outlining the geography of the region's data center market. The story highlighted Chicago's lack of natural disasters as a key attraction for IT companies looking to store data, as well as the growth of Chicago-area hosting providers, including Steadfast Networks, SingleHop and Hostway.
"Data centers have become the Chicago region’s biggest ComEd electrical customers, replacing the steel mills of a decade ago," writes Sandra Guy of the Sun-Times. "And they are attracting two precious resources: Hard-to-get private-equity money to finance their construction, and young people intent on developing technology success stories to rival Groupon."
While providing a high-level view of the Chicago market, the story doesn't mention the presence of the commodity markets as a major demand driver for data center space downtown, where investment companies, trading firms and hedge funds seek space to house low-latency trading operations.
The National Data Center Practice of Grubb & Ellis recently published an overview of leasing activity in the greater Chicago market. "Downtown Chicago is one of the tightest wholesale markets in the country, whereas the suburban market is much softer due to new projects by Corelink, Latisys, and Ascent and Phase II of DuPont and Equinix," wrote Jim Kerrigan of Grubb & Ellis, who said is only one wholesale POD available for immediate occupancy in downtown Chicago.
See our Chicago Channel for additional stories about the Chicago data center market.