What CloudHQ's $2.5 billion redevelopment of former United headquarters would mean for Mount Prospect

The sky appears to be the limit for CloudHQ's $2.5 billion planned redevelopment of the former United Airlines world headquarters, which Mount Prospect annexed in 2017, into a major data center.

CloudHQ, which is based in Washington, D.C., unveiled the plan for 50 acres bounded by Algonquin Road, Dempster Street and Linneman Road Thursday before the village's planning and zoning commission, which recommended the plan to the village board. The board needs to vote on final approval.

The plans call for CloudHQ to build three data centers at 566,767 square feet each, along with a new substation to power the centers.

A 172,000-square-foot data center that United has already built will remain but is not part of the project.

Big data demands a big investment, but for Mount Prospect, the new technology campus promises to yield a big return.

Village officials expect the assessed value of the campus to be $100 million, representing 5% of the village's assessed value. With CloudHQ picking up a greater share of the tax burden, it would end up "reducing what everybody else pays, so it's beneficial to all property owners," said the village's community development director Bill Cooney.

In addition, village officials anticipate the campus would generate $1 million annually in electric utility taxes for the village.

The project also promises to bring jobs, creating 1,000 construction jobs each year over the next six years and 450 full-time jobs for engineers, security and maintenance personnel.

Village officials said the property has been underutilized since United moved out in 2012.

The centers would be located on the United campus at 1200 E. Algonquin Road, while the substation would occupy the existing parking lot at 1200 Dempster St.

Brett Burnette, CloudHQ development manager, said the firm is a global company that develops wholesale data centers.

He said the firm's facilities house equipment for storage and the use of big data used by "some of the world's largest internet companies."

He said that since the company began in 2016, it has completed 1.2 million square feet of data center space, with an additional 1.7 million square feet under construction.

The company's founder, Hossein Fateh, co-founded DuPont Fabros Technology, which has built data centers at Busse Road and Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village.

Burnette said the Chicago area is the fourth-largest data center market in the world.

"We believe this project is an ideal fit for this location," he said.

Matt Norton, attorney for CloudHQ, said, "We are going to be bringing jobs, and they're going to be good jobs."

"This presents a unique, really once-in-a-generation opportunity for the village to redevelop this site in one fell swoop," Norton said. "We're buying all of the 50 acres, and our plan is to redevelop all of it over several years."

Burnette promised that there would be union jobs, Dan Allen, executive director of the Burr Ridge-based Construction Industry Service Corp., which represents about 6,000 union contractors and about 140,000 skilled union tradesmen and women in northeastern Illinois, called it a "win-win" for local workers.

"We are becoming a center for data centers," he said, "and with that comes all types of other technologies that follows."

FROM THE VILLAGE OF MOUNT PROSPECT WEBSITEA new technology center is proposed for the former United Airlines headquarters site.
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