Industrial Midwest

Former Chicago Sun-Times printing plant in Pilsen gets transformed into state-of-the-art data center for QTS

QTS-Chicago-Data-Center-KyotoCooling-systems
QTS Chicago Data Center KyotoCooling systems

Mortenson Construction and QTS Realty Trust have revived the empty Chicago Sun-Times printing plant in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood as a high-tech hub for the digital economy.

Mortenson Construction and QTS Realty Trust have revived the empty Chicago Sun-Times printing plant in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood as a high-tech hub for the digital economy.

The first phase of this massive, highly secure data center opened July 1 with an initial 48,000 square feet of raised floor data hall space and associated critical power and is scalable to 24 MW of critical power and 133,000 square feet of raised floor data hall space.

Along with consulting engineer ESD Global and lead architect Corgan Associates, Mortenson and QTS creatively repurposed parts of the building when possible while constructing a highly efficient and convenient layout for data center clients.

QTS Chicago data center

The firm reconfigured the loading area by adding bigger doors to some of the old loading docks where newspapers were placed into delivery trucks, making them the entry point for the secured receiving area with 10-foot clearances for servers and other data center gear. The massive reinforced floors that run down the center of the building and supported printing presses are being reused to hold heavy electrical equipment that will power clients’ servers.

Mortenson gutted parts of the building to maximize ease of use in installing equipment into the data center and for ongoing operations. For the first data hall, it built the configuration room next to the receiving area, so clients can unload and unpack equipment without moving it greater distances. It installed the lift next to the configuration room so servers can be conveniently transferred to the raised computing floor. Each data hall will repeat this pattern, with its own secure receiving area, configuration room and lift.

QTS Chicago Data Center data hall 1

In addition, Mortenson constructed new office space and shared “touchdown” rooms near the data hall so clients can work close to their computer operations when necessary instead of going back to their offices. Other amenities include first- and second-floor break-rooms, with plans for an onsite gym.

Other partners in the project include structural engineer AG&E Structural Engenuity, civil engineer Eriksson Engineering Associates, mechanical contractor The Hill Group, and electrical contractor Continental Electric Construction Company.