Project Savannah

Project Type: Business attraction

Jobs: 40-100 New

Locations: Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas/Houston

Criteria: Close to airports & potential clients in logistics, retail, healthcare, & field service industries

Project Savannah is an Australian software integration company that provides last-mile tracking solutions. They are looking for an office for their sales and account team.

Choose DuPage met with company on December 12.

 

In Chicago, Data Centers are Moving to the Suburbs

Article published by Bisnow, August 28, 2018, view here

Chicagoland is on its way to becoming the next big data center hot spot. 

After a steady run of tight supply and high demand, the market is ramping up for construction on a number of new projects this year. The Chicago market added 43 megawatts of data center supply last year, and construction is picking up with 16.6 megawatts underway.

Limitations on power, paired with space constraints in Chicago’s downtown, has driven owners and operators to start building in Chicago’s suburbs. More available land options outside the city, in addition to lower average building costs and available power, has made suburban areas attractive destinations for large-scale data center developments. The village of Itasca, 27 miles outside of Chicago in DuPage County, is becoming the new hot spot for high-tech data centers. Just over 10 miles from Chicago O’Hare airport, the suburb is on the recently opened Interstate 390 extension of the Elgin O’Hare Western Access project. Itasca is leading the area around O’Hare to emerge as the Chicago region’s most active data center hub. 

“There’s definitely a herd mentality when it comes to not only data center owners and operators but data center tenants,” JLL regional Midwest director and co-leader of JLL’s Midwest Chicago Data Center Services Sean Reynolds said to Crain’s Chicago. “They want to be on the tour list as an owner of a data center.”

One data center company leading the herd is RagingWire. In January, the owner and operator bought 19 acres of data center space at Hamilton Lakes Business Park in Itasca. RagingWire brings instant credibility to the market. The company is a subsidiary of NTT, one of the largest information technology and data center solutions companies in the world, and operates massive data center facilities in Ashburn, Virginia, Northern California and Dallas — the first, second and third largest data center markets in the world, respectively. The Chicago data center market is fourth in the world, running neck and neck with Dallas.

RagingWire’s Itasca facility is in the beginning phases for a 200K SF data center. The center could eventually grow to be 500K SF, Hamilton Partners partner Patrick McKillen said.

The site will feature RagingWire’s latest data center designs, built for rapid deployment and mission critical operations, all at a market-leading price. The new design comes in single-story and two-story models and can be move-in ready in a matter of months. This speed to market, coupled with reliability and cost-effectiveness, will attract the big hyperscale cloud companies and Fortune 1000 enterprises to set up their computing systems at RagingWire in Itasca. 

“We are evolving and innovating our engineering designs and construction models to give hyperscale customers and large enterprises the functionality, flexibility and connectivity they need — all at lower costs than have been offered before,” RagingWire Vice President of Global Accounts Steve Manos said.

An extensive fiber network, affordable electricity costs and minimal risk of natural disaster have made the Chicago area one of the nation’s top data center markets. Chicago’s population density and growing employee base are attractive to data center users looking to locate their apps close to their users. Chicago also has a vibrant tech community of skilled workers ready to work in the data centers.

“First-quarter numbers indicated data processing, hosting and related industry operations employ more than 1,600 workers in DuPage County, earning an average annual wage of more than $96K,” Choose DuPage Economic Development Alliance President and CEO John Carpenter said. “This industry is not only providing attractive opportunities to our local workforce, the benefits these facilities offer to businesses looking for high-level data storage, recovery, resiliency and other critical data-related services are paramount for our continued regional economic development.”

Plans for a number of other developments targeting the tech sector are in the works in Chicago’s suburbs. For example, at the beginning of 2018, Brennan Investment Group announced plans to develop 86 acres of infill space into a $1B technology park in Elk Grove Village.

“With these high-quality data centers coming into Itasca, there is a direct benefit from tax revenue that goes into schools and services in the area,” Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn said. “There’s a strategic advantage to hosting a data center like RagingWire, and we are excited to see the continued growth it brings to our village.”

With more companies moving their operations to Chicago, and supply picking up as new construction permeates the outer suburbs, data center owners and operators are preparing for even more activity throughout the region. 

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and RagingWire. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

CityGate Centre

SMS Assist Focuses on Customer Service with New Office

SMS Assist, one of Chicago’s fastest-growing technology companies, today announced a major expansion with the opening of a second area office in suburban Naperville. 

The expansion will allow SMS Assist, headquartered in downtown Chicago, to accelerate investments in its industry-leading workforce and business solutions, which bring efficiency to multisite property management. The company, which plans to build out the new office initially with dozens of customer service riles, has a global workforce of more than 800 employees. 

“Our success is driven by our people,” said Taylor Rhodes, SMS Assist’s CEO. “They’re the reason we’re here today. This new office allows us to continue creating opportunities for the team while also strengthening what’s already the best customer service in the industry.”

SMS Assist, recognized for its internal talent development program, chose Naperville for the new office because of the city’s strong business environment and highly skilled workforce. Naperville, with numerous colleges and top-ranked school districts, is regularly rated as one of the most educated, best places to live in the country. 

The company has subleased 35,000 square feet in CityGate Centre near Interstate 88 and Route 59. It will open the facility at 2135 CityGate Lane next month with about 30 workers, says CEO Taylor Rhodes (reported by Crain’s).

The new office, which features free covered parking, an on-site gym, building food court and dedicated training space, will allow the company to accommodate up to 400 employees. The hiring process is already underway, with job descriptions available online.  

SMS is expanding in the burbs at a time when suburban companies, such as McDonald’s, continue to migrate downtown in search of labor. A handful of companies—such as Motorola Solutions, Walgreens, Fieldglass and startup Catalytic—have locations in both the city and suburbs (reported by Crain’s).

“You get a lot of great talent downtown,” Rhodes said. “There are other pools of people who look favorably at not having to get on a train and come downtown. We studied quite a few spaces before choosing this one. The labor, proximity to college-educated folks, the mix of type of talent was right. It also gives us a second site, which helps with disaster-recovery requirements” (reported by Crain’s).

SMS Assist enhances how customers experience some of the nation’s biggest brands, streamlining dozens of facilities maintenance services with best-in-class contractors. The company’s technology platform offers real-time quality assurance and transparency across thousands of locations simultaneously. 

For two years running, SMS Assist has earned a spot on the Forbes World’s Best 100 Cloud Companies list. 

About SMS Assist

SMS Assist is a Chicago-based technology company providing multisite property management to a roster of Fortune 500 clients with a team of more than 800 dedicated employees and more than 186,000 service locations. Using its proprietary software platform to manage its network of more than 20,000 affiliate subcontractors, SMS Assists offers a suite of property management benefits including leveraged pricing of products and services, $50 million insurance policy, real-time services validation, instant invoicing, automatic service audits, and data analysis to ensure quality and cost efficiency. SMS Assist is revolutionizing multisite property management services for clients including JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), O’Reilly Automative, Inc. (NASDAQ: ORLY) and Invitation Homes Inc. (NYSE: INVH). To learn more, visit smsassist.com.