Nearly ready for takeoff: Mount Prospect backs $2.5 billion redevelopment of United HQ

  • Plans for a $2.5 billion redevelopment of the former United Airlines headquarters in Mount Prospect won preliminary approval from the village board Tuesday night. Washington, D.C.-based CloudHQ plans to build three data centers and a ComEd substation on the property.

    Plans for a $2.5 billion redevelopment of the former United Airlines headquarters in Mount Prospect won preliminary approval from the village board Tuesday night. Washington, D.C.-based CloudHQ plans to build three data centers and a ComEd substation on the property. Courtesy of Mount Prospect

 
Updated 12/16/2021 6:50 AM

The redevelopment of the former United Airlines world headquarters in Mount Prospect is about ready for takeoff.

Mount Prospect village board members Tuesday granted preliminary approval to Washington, D.C.-based CloudHQ's $2.5 billion redevelopment of the property into three data centers and a ComEd substation.

 

CloudHQ will come back before the board in three months for final approval of the project covering 50 acres at Algonquin Road, Linneman Road and Dempster Street

The village annexed the property in 2017, five years after United moved its headquarters to Willis Tower in Chicago. Since that time, United built a data center that will remain on the property but not be part of the redevelopment.

The project will take six years to build, with one building being built at a time.

"These are home to major corporations that use web information and data," Community Development Director Bill Cooney said of the data centers. "CloudHQ's model is they build them and then they lease out the structures to large corporations such as Amazon and Google. Once they fill the buildings up, they will move on to the next building."

Cooney put the $2.5 billion investment in perspective when he noted that the redevelopment of Randhurst mall into Randhurst Village cost about $100 million.

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The project is expected to generate more than $1 million in electric utility taxes each year for the village, create 1,000 construction jobs per year over the next six years, and up to 450 full-time jobs once completed.

Trustee Peggy Pissarreck asked what percentage of the development will be powered by renewable energy.

Ed Sitar, ComEd manager of economic development, said that will be the choice of CloudHQ.

"There certainly are 100% renewable options, if they want to do that," he said, adding that most of the other data centers in the Chicago area use 100% renewable energy.

CloudHQ consultant and acoustical engineer Tom Thunder said that with 82 chillers cooling the property, there will be noise, but it will fall within the village standards. Mitigation will include a noise barrier wall and hospital-grade mufflers, developers say.

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