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Old Posted Jan 29, 2014, 4:45 PM
LouisVanDerWright LouisVanDerWright is offline
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Originally Posted by SamInTheLoop View Post
^^ No real advantage, and yes could and should be further west. It's just that the developers who own the land struck a deal that works for them financially for this particular usage, and instead of holding out for a 'more highest and best usey-type' project, they want to go for a quicker acceptable return with data center..........definitely agree though that it's a poor use here....

^^^ False. Completely and utterly false. Data centers are one of the most locationally sensitive uses of RE. They need to be built directly on top of as many fiber lines as possible, particularly if they are being used for prop trading. The Lakeshore data center sits on top of a massive fiber run along the Metra Electric tracks and simply saying "put it a few blocks further west" means millions upon millions of dollars of superfluous infrastructure work and degradation in the performance of the fiber connections. Even adding a single fiber relay (which would be required to branch off that far from the mainline fiber along the lake) adds a few nanoseconds and essentially makes the facility useless to the entire prop trading industry (which is really what is driving all these data centers in Chicago).

Also, there are other massive infrastructure concerns that come into play when locating data centers. The second major requirement is access to extremely heavy power. Obviously server farms and the associated cooling equipment burn up power more intensely than just about any other modern use. This means you need extremely heavy power on site. Again, saying "just move it a few blocks west" means running massively expensive heavy power to a building that doesn't already have it. The Lakeshore Data Center and the proposed ABC data center stand at a beautiful intersection of heavy power and fiber as both buildings were once used for printing which, fittingly, used to be one of the most electricity intensive industries. Both buildings already have a huge amount of power running to them again saving millions in infrastructure costs.

Finally, you have to factor in the structural requirements for data centers. Again, this is a third demand for a good data center. Clients are looking for the most structurally robust buildings they can find in order to resist disruptions from natural disasters. Additionally, many buildings can't even carry the loads created by the densely packed server equipment and would need to be retrofitted to accommodate it. You could build an all new building with similarly robust construction, but it would again cost millions more than just finding a existing building that perfectly meets all your needs. Again, the ABC building excels in this category as printing equipment weighed even more than server farms so the building is massively overbuilt for just about any other use.

What it all comes down to is reuse. These buildings are literally perfect for reuse as data centers. It would be a horrible waste to convert them to anything else since it would cost millions more to create a new facility with the same features. Converting them to a data center takes nothing more than cleaning up and doing deferred maintenance on the existing building and then packing it full of the necessary equipment. Almost no infrastructure or structural work is necessary, they are virtually plug and play buildings which is an extremely rare occurrence for 100 year old structures.