QTS to Get Tax Break on Former Chicago Sun-Times Plant Redevelopment
The former Chicago Sun Times printing facility into data center. (Photo: QTS)

QTS to Get Tax Break on Former Chicago Sun-Times Plant Redevelopment

QTS acquired the site on the cheap and plans to spend a ton of money on turning it into a data center.

QTS Realty Trust will see an $11.4 million property tax break to help turn recently acquired Chicago Sun-Times printing plant into one of its mega data centers, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The company will receive the incentives over the course of twelve years.

The City Council’s Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development approved the Class B property tax break for what will be QTS’ first Chicago facility. The company paid about $18 million for the 317,000-square-foot building that sits on 30 acres of land and is set to spend up to $500 million on redevelopment.

The Sun-Times plant has been closed since 2011. QTS’ planned redevelopment plans are seen very favorably by local officials as the site has been idle. The new data center is expected to create 300 construction jobs, 80 full-time positions and 30 contract employee positions.

The company continues to expand beyond its Atlanta roots, also recently buying a McGraw Hill Financial data center in East Windsor, New Jersey, for $75 million.

QTS said the Chicago building could accommodate about 130,000 square feet of raised floor and 24 megawatts of power. The company’s redevelopment plans include expanding its size to accommodate about 215,000 square feet of raised floor and 37 megawatts.

Chief investment officer Jeff Berson told the Sun-Times how critical the tax break is in QTS plans, stating that without it, QTS would have been forced to move elsewhere. “For major banks, major Internet companies to trust us to house their servers and all of their data, you have to provide significant infrastructure, capacity, availability,  redundancy and reliability. There’s a lot of technical aspects that go into putting this building together,” said Berson.

Chicago is a data center market where supply has struggled to keep up with demand, boosting nearby suburban markets as the city’s space is occupied. The new data center will add a healthy supply.

There are others also planning on adding a healthy supply to both Chicago proper and surrounding suburban markets. Other recent developments in the market include CenterPoint’s plans for a 12-story data center next door to the city’s primary Internet data hub at 350 East Cermak. Carter Validus recently acquired Ascent’s 250,000 square foot multi-tenant facility next to Microsoft’s data center in the suburban Chicago market. ByteGrid recently acquired a suburban Chicago data center from insurance company CNA (Continental Casualty Company).

Other companies with new projects or expansions in suburban Chicago include DuPont Fabros Technology, Forsythe TechnologyLatisysServer Farm Realty and Continuum.

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