Data center room

CHICAGO – State Senator Lakesia Collins has secured $3.4 million for construction of the first African American-led data center development in Illinois. Located in the Illinois Medical District, the IMD1 data center project will help secure Illinois’ data locally and will create opportunities for local youth to learn about technology and computing.

 “The IMD1 project will bring so many opportunities to our community here in the 5th District,” Collins (D-Chicago) said. “With this grant funding we can keep Illinois technology data within our state, instead of sending it off to another state or another country, and gain millions in tax revenue that can go back to support the Black and Brown neighborhoods, businesses and youth.”

Groundbreaking for the project is expected by early next year. The project includes a five-story, 184,700-square-foot data center that will be built on a two-acre site at 14th and Damen in Chicago, located in the Illinois Medical District. The first phase of work will include LEED-certified engineering plans, electrical upgrades and equipment purchases, and sewer and site improvements. The project also includes scholarships and training programs for local youth to participate in technology and earn future employment at data centers. Funding for the project is included in the state’s Fiscal Year 2025 Rebuild Illinois capital plan.

To further support data centers in Illinois, Collins has also introduced Senate Bill 3939 to support Illinois data centers and create jobs in underserved areas through the Keep Illinois Data in Illinois Tax Credit. The measure would help minority business owners develop storage facilities, as data centers are one of the best economic investments for municipalities.

The developer of the project, African American entrepreneur Craig Huffman of Metro Edge Development Partners, thanked Senator Collins for her efforts.

“We want to thank Senator Collins for realizing that this project is a big win for the West Side of Chicago,” Huffman said. “Each new data center creates administrative, union construction, and operational jobs. The capital required to construct the buildings injects millions of dollars into local economies, and with managed growth, this real estate type alleviates traditional burdens on resources like schools and other city services. By keeping Illinois data in Illinois, our state has the chance to not only boost its financial standing, but also nurture a tech-savvy workforce and inspire future generations.”

According to a February 2023 report commissioned in part by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the 13 Chicago-area data center projects approved since 2020 have created more than 8,000 jobs for construction workers and generated $4.2 billion of direct investment into Chicago-area communities.

Collins remains committed to working with advocates to support data centers in diverse communities across Illinois.