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A Rare Look Inside A Hyperscale-Ready Data Center

    QTS Chicago

    Data centers aren't tourist attractions and even the working press isn't often invited inside for a look at their sensitive workings — especially those of a major, hyperscale-ready facility. Bisnow recently got a rare tour of such a facility: QTS Chicago near Downtown.

    The data center campus is to the southwest of — and quite close to — Downtown Chicago. QTS Chicago is not only hyperscale-ready, but the facility is also a significant adaptive reuse of a former printing facility that makes use of its exceedingly sturdy structure.

    Construction on the building started in 1998, as a newspaper printing facility for the Chicago Sun-Times. QTS redeveloped the structure, refashioning it as a 467K SF data center with 125 megawatts of capacity whose first phase opened in 2016.

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    Ready for Tenants

    QTS Chicago

    "The bones of the building are fantastic," QTS Regional Vice President Nabon Marisco said. Marisco guided our tour of the facility, including space that is fully built out and ready for tenants, as pictured here. QTS Chicago can accommodate a variety of data users, including large hyperscale users.

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    Raw Space

    QTS Chicago

    This is raw space, awaiting build-out.

    "The floor-loading capacity was high, since the structure had to handle the printing presses and all the paper," Marisco said. "It's poetic in a way, to go from information delivery on paper to the next generation of information delivery at a data center."

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    Tenant Servers

    QTS Chicago

    QTS Chicago already accommodates a variety of data users in space such as pictured here. Though client names are confidential, they include some of the largest companies in the tech industry. The facility's location near Downtown Chicago is a prime selling point, Marisco said.

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    Blanking Panels

    QTS Chicago

    The property is LEED Gold. Part of the company's sustainability strategy is to redevelop properties such as the former Sun-Times facility. QTS also harvests rainwater on its roofs and uses blanking panels (also known as filler panels or rack spacer blanks) to maintain proper airflow in the racks, thus reducing the energy needed for cooling. 

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    QTS Chicago

    Security at the facility includes a 10-foot outer perimeter fence, checkpoints, pan-tilt-zoom cameras, card readers, a manned security desk and guards on-site all the time. Also, it features biometric and iris scan tech, as pictured here.

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    QTS Chicago

    Pictured: Some of the facility's electric transmission infrastructure.

    QTS is building a 125 MW substation on-site. "It gives us the ability to power not only this building, but also will allow us to double our footprint on the 30 acres we have here," Marisco said. "It helps us get a significantly lower utility rate as well."

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