Industry Focus: Data Centers – To Serve And Protect

By Dominique Cantelme
From the May/June 2014 issue

Data centers are facilities that house an organization’s IT operations and equipment, and where it stores, manages and disseminates its data. They provide a reliable backup, minimizing the chance of disruption should company operations be hindered in any way.

Data centers are generally multi-tenant Internet hosting data centers or single tenant enterprise data centers with minimum requirements for their telecommunications infrastructure specified by the Telecommunications Industry Association’s TIA-942 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers. This includes content distribution, network architecture, database management and environmental control. And while data center architectures and requirements can differ greatly, all data centers need four essential elements.

A facility is the location and “white space,” or usable space that is available for IT equipment. The support infrastructure is the additional space and equipment required to support data center operations. Some components for supporting infrastructure include, uninterruptible power sources (UPS) such as generators; environmental controls such as computer room air conditioners (CRACs) and HVAC and exhaust systems; and physical security systems such as video surveillance. IT equipment is the actual equipment for information technology operations and the storage of data. This includes servers, storage hardware, cables, racks, management systems and network gear. And the operations staff is there to monitor operations and maintain IT and infrastructural equipment so that it is properly operated, maintained, upgraded and repaired.

To run efficiently, data centers should provide a number of elements that include but are not limited to, environmental controls for health and safety; emergency preparedness and response; a suitable training program; performance monitoring and review; security; redundancy; scalability; and maintenance, quality, change, energy, financial, infrastructure and documentation management.

Here are some locations that have everything needed to provide a home for your next data center.


Located within Chicago’s “Golden Corridor” in the Midwest’s largest market, Huntley, Illinois has become an increasingly popular destination for diverse businesses including foreign companies and cutting edge technology firms companies with well-known household names such as Weber Grills and Dean’s. And though the community has many obvious assets, including its transportation network, fast track permitting and high growth rate, it provides something extra valuable for those in the data business.

While many in suburban Chicago are taking note of Huntley’s new $200-million hospital scheduled for completion in 2016, Weber Grill’s new 757,000-square-foot Global Distribution Facility and its new full-access interchange on I-90 at Route 47, others in data and technology fields are recognizing Huntley’s access to dark fiber, abundant new power and one of the largest workforce populations in the Midwest. Huntley’s unique location, with convergence of power and fiber, has resulted in site selectors contacting the community’s economic development team. Since those initial inquiries, Economic Development staff have worked proactively to communicate the resources Huntley has available to data center, call center and high data usage back office users.

Their activities are paying dividends. Participation in recent data center conferences and other industry activities, and Victor Narusis’ panelist role in Chicago Data Center Summits, have raised Huntley’s awareness and stock. Patrick Davis, Senior Design Phase Manager with the Chicago office of Mortenson Construction is impressed with Huntley. “Few communities in the Chicago area understand the resources necessary to accommodate heavy data users, and even fewer actually have those resources available. Huntley’s resources, cooperative attitude and interest in welcoming data centers make it unique among suburban Chicago locations.”

Huntley is located 30 minutes east of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on the Illinois Tollway Authority’s dark-fiber line, which represents the northern leg of the Northern Illinois Technology Triangle. While location and power/fiber availability are key to Huntley’s data resources, other important elements make Huntley an attractive location for large data users.

Huntley’s recipe for success includes:

Power Reliability and Quality: Huntley benefits from being within ComEd’s footprint, one of the most reliable and least costly in the Midwest and United States.

Electrical Capacity: ComEd, the area’s electrical distribution firm and primary supplier, is in the process of completing new high capacity transmission lines which border Huntley’s 500 acres of industrial and business park areas. Furthermore, the Sanwald Road substation built in 2007 is capable of significant expansion.

Cooling and Green Solutions: Huntley possesses grey water availability up to 1 million GPD for cooling needs at costs of nearly one-third that of most suburban Chicago communities. Additionally, Chicago’s climate provides many months of “free cooling,” further minimizing the need for water to cool important equipment.

Nominal Natural Disasters: The Chicago area experiences virtually no wide-area natural disasters other than the occasional snowstorm. No earthquakes above magnitude 3.8 and no hurricanes have been recorded in Chicago since consistent record keeping began in 1871.

With more than 500 acres of business parkland available, and over 200 of that with roadway access and utilities, Huntley’s Economic Development staff is working aggressively to bring new users and assist in promoting the growth of its existing industry. To learn more about Huntley, visit their website at or contact Vic Narusis at (847) 515-5268.


Since 1989, Dart Development has specialized in bringing the business community the finest business parks available, giving tenants the best possible service, and providing a number of options to serve all space needs. Dart Development properties offer easy access to major highways and key amenities, as well as aesthetic blends of natural and business-like environments. Their distinctive space solutions are not just four walls and a roof. They are destinations for the businesses that desire quality, functionality, value and dependability.

Dart Development has developed a keen understanding of the impact a company’s space has on efficiency, profitability, as well as overall value. For that reason, Dart Development partners with businesses to customize properties to meet its client’s unique needs. From technology support companies to architectural firms, from bio-medical research to automobile manufacturing—Dart Development’s clients and spaces cover a wide spectrum.

Case Study: Space solutions for bio-medical industry

In 2012, Dart Neuroscience needed a new facility that could accommodate its forecasted growth over the next few years. The company discovers new technologies and develops new therapies to help maintain cognitive vitality throughout life. In order to achieve its mission to become the leading specialized pharmaceutical company for memory disorders, it needed a state-of-the-art laboratory facility.

Dart Development partnered with Dart Neuroscience to convert an existing building in San Diego into a globally renowned biomedical research and development facility. Today, the facility houses nearly 300 employees, many of whom are PhDs and leading healthcare professionals in the American biomedical marketplace.

Dart Development recognizes that growth-stage companies often need larger spaces that can be configured to meet unique needs. In the case of Dart Neuroscience, state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, ventilation and floor space organization were among the many details that needed a clean slate. Dart Development helped create the opportunity to customize this building to meet all of the client’s needs.

Opportunities to build/finish-to-suit in Michigan

Oakwood Executive Park

Across the U.S., Dart Development has a growing reputation for its exceptional space and service. Dart Development has become a prime partner for growth-stage businesses, as the automobile industry strengthens—bringing production and jobs back to the U.S., and as biotechnologies and telecommunication industries expand due to ever-increasing demands. The ability to tailor space to meet unique business requirements gives Dart Development’s clients a competitive edge. In Michigan, Dart Development has two established business parks, as well as shovel-ready acreage.

Oakwood Executive Park in Lansing offers build-to-suit options. With spaces ranging from 103,000 to 3,000 square feet, Oakwood offers warehouse and light industrial businesses, as well as research lab and office users a variety of high-quality space.

This Michigan Certified Business Park is in an Industrial Development District, zoned for M-1 Light Industrial. Companies find the location on I-96, just 1.5 miles from US-127, is central to Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Detroit, Chicago and Toledo. There also is a build-to-suit leasing option for development in the same area. Dart Development has 70 acres of space that can be adapted to fit the needs of biomedical technology companies or other high-tech industries.

Wixcom Business Center

Wixom Business Center is located in western Oakland County on Beck Road, just off of I-96. It offers convenient access to Metro-Detroit highways, flexible floor plans, as well as an undeveloped four-acre annex that is an excellent opportunity to create a customized facility.

Dart Development has capital capability to acquire other property and offers clients the benefit of established working relationships with Wieland-Davco Co., a Lansing based construction company. Together they have created over 12 million square feet of space for companies large and small.

For more information on the opportunities described above, or to look at other options in Michigan and around the U.S., visit