Data Centers

Demand for cloud computing, “big data” and its security is growing. Many organizations are considering developing and operating data centers. Developers and building owners wish to create multi-tenant data centers. Hospitals and universities want connected campuses. And some of the world’s largest companies are providing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) as a new source of revenue from their data centers.

The process of getting approvals to build, retrofit or expand data centers can be very complex and time-consuming.  We can help assist developers, operators and others with their data center needs:

  • Obtaining approvals for private infrastructure—such as conduit paths, manholes, junction boxes—to be located on public property
  • Securing flexible planned development and zoning-related approvals to develop, operate and expand centers
  • Assisting developers with acquiring sites for development, or existing buildings for renovation
  • Working with developers on all aspects of construction, including negotiating contracts and resolving disputes with contractors
  • Assisting operators with leases of data center facilities
  • Seeking variances of fire safety and EPA regulations
  • Coordinating strategies and assisting with obtaining incentives to offset certain costs
  • Advising developers on ways to meet their operational and speed-to-market needs
  • Assisting with local business licensing
  • Handling disputes and litigating issues with neighboring property owners

Representative Matters

  • Collaborated with the city government to amend the Chicago Zoning Ordinance, creating the zoning category that permits data centers to operate.
  • Obtained many planned development and Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance approvals, plus financial incentives, to redevelop 350 East Cermak Road. This 1.1 million square foot data center/carrier hotel is the largest multi-tenant data center in the U.S.
  • Received Chicago City Council approvals to allow a data center owner (a non-telecommunications retailer or provider) to place multiple fiber conduit paths beneath public streets, and rights-of-way. Strategically and efficiently enabling building tenants turnkey access to their preferred network providers.
  • Collaborated and negotiated with Chicago city government to draft and develop the first data center conduit path use agreement. This allowed for private infrastructure under Chicago’s public ways.
  • Represented many developers in acquiring urban “infill” sites and existing buildings for redevelopment.
  • Obtained Chicago City Council approvals to allow a developer of underground conduits to locate an underground pipeline or conduit path beneath Chicago’s Busway Project. The approval meant the developer could sublicense the conduits to telecommunications providers.
  • Represented a number of developers in negotiating construction contracts and other agreements to develop their projects and resolve construction-related disputes.
  • Negotiated a conduit path and facility use agreement, and a Chicago Freight Tunnel Construction and Maintenance Agreement, and secured City Council approvals. As a result, the data center developer and operator could place redundant conduit paths, manholes and junction boxes within city public ways and in the Chicago Freight Tunnel.
  • Worked with a data center operator in negotiating a lease at a major data center location.
  • Represented a Class 1 railroad in developing a fiber optic line along its right of way.
  • Assisted telecommunications companies and fiber optic network service providers with their Chicago business licensing needs.
  • Represented a construction company in litigation with an adjoining property owner on the issue of installing telecommunications services within the public way.
  • Represented a telecommunications construction company in all aspects of litigation and dispute-related services.