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Chicago Data Center Real Estate Added 43 MW Of Supply, And More Is On The Way

Ascent Chicago Data Center (CH2), Northlake

The Chicago data center market added 43 megawatts of supply last year, and another 16.6 MW is under construction, according to CBRE's H2 2017 data center market report. But Chicago, the third-largest data center market in the country, remains supply-constrained.

The market absorbed 26 MW in 2017's final months, and 20 MW are available. Chicago's data center vacancy rate stands at 8.7%. CBRE First Vice President Aaron Kulick said the new deliveries will provide hyperscale users, who have accounted for a majority of the market absorption in recent years, options to deploy additional infrastructure under quicker time frames. Chicago is also outpacing other markets in attracting smaller, enterprise tenants that no longer fear the cloud.

The strong fundamentals have resulted in an uptick in data center investment interest. Digital Realty Trust's $315M acquisition of Ascent's Northlake data center from Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT last October was the largest single data center trade in North America last year.

Provider speed-to-market remains a concern, even as T5 Data CentersQTS and Digital Realty are building more supply. O'Hare has emerged as the area's most active data center submarket. Brennan Investment secured 85 acres in January to build Elk Grove Technology Park. RagingWire Data Centers acquired 19 acres at Hamilton Lakes Business Park and will break ground on a 200K SF data center this spring.