$10B Data Center Campus Kicks Off Near Chicago

The nearly 200-acre project is taking shape on the former Sears headquarters site.

Compass Datacenters campus in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Compass Datacenters’ campus in Hoffman Estates, Ill., will comprise five hyperscale data centers. Image courtesy of Compass Datacenters

Compass Datacenters, of Dallas, has begun work on a hyperscale data center campus in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The project is taking shape on the nearly 200-acre former Sears headquarters site.

The Chicago-area campus will include five hyperscale data centers and will be Compass’ first hyperscale campus in Illinois. The firm estimates the project’s value on completion at about $10 billion in local investment.

Commonwealth Edison, Northern Illinois’s largest electric utility, will provide infrastructure upgrades for the project, which will include a new onsite substation that will be energized in mid-2026.

READ ALSO: Prologis, Blackstone Double Down on Data Centers, but Hurdles Remain

The fate of Sears’ seven-building campus had been up in the air ever since the once-giant retailer filed for bankruptcy in 2018. Plummeting demand for office space during and since the pandemic didn’t help, making finding a new future for the site difficult.

Compass acquired the property in September 2023. The site is now being prepared for structural demolition, which will begin this summer. Construction is scheduled to start next year.

Compass CEO Chris Crosby said, in a prepared statement, the company is taking a methodical approach to demolition, so this work will take more than a year to complete. As the existing buildings come down, concrete, stone blocks and asphalt from the site will be repurposed as fill and as aggregate in concrete production. Compass uses an AI application to help optimize these types of locally available materials for concrete production to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A central hub

A JLL report on data centers in the U. S. highlighted metropolitan Chicago as a market that can anticipate substantial data center growth over the next five years.

In February, Edged Energy announced that its U.S. debut would consist of four data centers totaling more than 300 MW. One of the four will be a three-building, 96 MW facility in Aurora, Ill.

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