Construction Today - January 2017 - 50
QTS ASSEMBLED A SKILLED PROJECT TEAM TO BUILD ITS NEW DATA CENTER IN CHICAGO. BY ALAN DORICH
hen QTS Realty Trust Inc. -
one of the fastest-growing
data center companies in
the world - decided to build
a location in downtown Chicago, it needed
the right development team. "A strong
and reliable team is the foundation of our
success," Program Manager of Property Development for QTS Ryan Duncan declares.
"We try to get someone who we can trust
and rely on, provide necessary feedback
when needed and make changes based on
different business decisions," he says. The
company has done just that in its redevelopment of a former Chicago Sun-Times
printing plant into a data center.
The 317,000-square-foot structure, built
in 1999, will stand two stories and support
134,000 square feet of raised floor, which
will encompass 24 megawatts of critical IT
power. The first phase of the new facility
recently opened in July 2016, with an
expansion of the facility underway that will
increase capacity to 40 megawatts of critical
After acquiring the Sun-Times facility in
2014, QTS hired Mortenson Construction
as the construction manager, along with
lead consulting engineer ESD Inc. and lead
architect Corgan Associates. The three previously worked together on multiple data
The project team also includes electrical
Mortenson Construction -
QTS Data Center
* Project location: Chicago
* Employees: QTS post-construction -
50, construction workers -
200 at peak
"A trong and eliable team is
e foundation of our uccess."
- Ryan Duncan, program manager of
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM JANUARY 2017
PHOTO CREDIT: ©QTS, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Commercial | MORTENSON CONSTRUCTION - QTS DATA CENTER
The Right Team
new QTS facility will
increase capacity to 40 MW of
critical IT power.
contractor Continental Electric Construction Co. and The Hill Group, the project's
mechanical contractor. QTS wisely assembled an experienced team, Mortenson
General Manager Andy Stapleton says.
"They had the foresight to leverage everyone's data center expertise and background
to arrive at an optimal solution for their
customers," he says.
A Good Fit
Over the years, multiple technology-focused companies looked at turning the
former Sun-Times facility into a data center.
"However, it took an organization like QTS,
with a clear plan and proven track record, to
transform the existing building into an industry leading data center," Stapleton says.
The data center company has made a habit
of retrofitting previously used locations. "We
have sites all over the country and a large
majority of them have been either repur-
posed buildings or repurposed data centers,"
Duncan says. "This strategy has supported
QTS' success and growth as a company."
There were multiple reasons that the SunTimes plant was perfect for QTS, Stapleton
says. Proximity to downtown Chicago,
access to significant electrical power, fiber
connectivity, a robust structure and an
efficient building layout all contributed to
the successful data center conversion.
For example, a large, precast concrete
enclosed warehouse on the building's south
side that used to store paper now serves as
"an expansive data hall with high ceilings
and large column spacing," he says. The
plant's central spine, which had housed
newspaper printing presses, can now be
used for electrical gear and uninterruptible
power supply systems (UPS).
"Once the team developed the vision, I
think the pieces fell into place rather well,"