Construction began on the site of the former United Airlines headquarters in Mount Prospect, and the recent demolitions of the facility paved the way for a $ 2.5 billion data center campus to be launched in 2024.

Officials at CloudHQ, a Washington-based global data center provider that specializes in the design, development and operation of “hyperscale” data center facilities, said the 1.5 million square foot campus is expected to create 75 to 100 jobs for everyone three planned buildings, including operational, maintenance and security stations.

The site, which borders Dempster Street, Algonquin and Linneman, is expected to generate up to 3,000 jobs during the construction of three buildings.

Large-scale data centers typically house hundreds of thousands of computer servers in each building to meet the data storage needs of the world’s largest companies, officials said in a statement.

“Chicago has long been a digital infrastructure hub for our existing customers,” said CloudHQ spokesman Brett Burnette.

Burnette declined to name the CloudHQ clients who are expected to host their servers on the site, citing “strict confidentiality agreements.” However, he said CloudHQ customers represent “some of the largest internet providers in the world.”

In addition to the company’s global headquarters in Washington and the European headquarters in London, CloudHQ has offices in Frankfurt, Germany and São Paulo, Brazil, and data center campuses in Northern Virginia.

The development is the eighth new data center project to be launched last year in the ComEd service area, which includes northern Illinois, ComEd officials said in a statement. ComEd will build a new substation at this site to support CloudHQ operations.

“Companies like CloudHQ continue to pay attention to northern Illinois and our service area with unparalleled access to the clean, affordable and reliable energy needed to meet the demands of today’s economy,” said Gil C. Quinones, CEO of ComEd. statement.

The first phase of the three-building project is expected to be completed in 2024, with an additional two buildings expected to be completed in the next three to five years depending on demand, officials said.

Bill Cooney, director of community development at Mount Prospect, said the village had annexed a 50-acre unincorporated plot of land in Cook County in 2017 roughly a decade after United Airlines began emptying and relocating of their employees to Chicago, eventually settling in the Willis Tower.

“The village has annexed the property so that we can have more control over its future,” said Cooney.

Cooney said CloudHQ would receive a 6b tax credit from Cook County per project, which would lower the property rating from 25% to 10% for the first 10 years, 15% in 11 and 20% in 12.

After 12 years, the rating returns to the full 25% for the end user, Cooney said.

While local tax districts will benefit from the increased property value, a Grade 6b incentive represents tax savings of around $ 2.5 million a year for the company when fully assessed, assuming an estimated value of $ 100 million, Cooney said.

He said the company would generate over $ 1 million a year for the village from electricity tax and donate $ 2 million to the Mount Prospect Park District to improve local parks.

The Grade 6b program aims to encourage industrial development by offering real estate tax incentives for the development of new industrial facilities, rehabilitation of existing industrial structures and industrial re-use of abandoned buildings, according to the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

According to ComEd, 2019 was a “turning point” for the Illinois data center industry, following the enactment of new state legislation offering a tax incentive to encourage tech giants and other companies to locate their data storage facilities in the state.

As part of the $ 45 billion capital building plan, the incentive exempts eligible data centers from state and local taxes on the sale of indoor equipment such as cooling and heating equipment, servers, and storage cabinets.

Since passing its data center incentive program, ComEd has completed 15 new data center projects, including six projects bringing in over $ 2 billion in local investment in 2021, the company said.

In the ComEd service area, in northern Illinois alone, there are currently more than 70 data centers, six of which are under construction and a further 13 are in the early stages of design or planning, the company said.

Real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield ranked Chicago fourth, along with Atlanta, on the 2022 list of best data center cities, behind Singapore’s Silicon Valley and first-ranked location in Northern Virginia. The report cited “significant incentives for Chicago, low cost of land, lots of development work in progress, and lower energy costs than most large data center markets.”

CloudHQ’s Burnette said the datacenter campus would require a few large trucks, and with a few hundred employees at most, it wouldn’t increase traffic in the area.

“We will try to blend in and engage with our business without disrupting the community,” said Burnette.

kcullotta@chicagotribune.com

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