Data center campus proposed for portion of WGN transmitter site near Elk Grove
The parent company of WGN radio has proposed relocating the station's transmission tower to the north end of its 100-acre property near Elk Grove Village to make way for a three-building data center campus on the south end, under a plan being considered by village officials.
Nexstar Media Group, which acquired the 50,000-watt AM station in 2019, intends to develop 35 acres at the transmitter site, which is on Martingale Road/Rohlwing Road in unincorporated Schaumburg Township just north of Biesterfield Road.
Nexstar plans to petition the village for annexation in order to access critical infrastructure and village services, said village officials, who released details after a neighborhood meeting with residents last Thursday night.
As the site borders about 125 homes to the south and west, officials say they've been working with the developer as part of the preliminary design phase to mitigate the impact on the nearby residential community.
"We wanted to get involved early so we can guide the development in a way that protects our residents," Mayor Craig Johnson said in a news release.
For instance, Johnson said the village worked with Nexstar to maximize setbacks between the data center buildings and residential properties, ranging from 178 to 338 feet.
There will also be a 9-foot-tall berm with 8-foot screen wall, and landscaping will surround the development and act as a buffer between the data center campus and neighborhood, officials said. The village is also requiring a 25-foot grassy area between residential property lines and the start of the berm.
Elk Grove Village has become the Midwestern hub for data center operations, with close to a dozen of the computer storage sites calling the Northwest suburb home. Village officials emphasized in the news release that data centers "are typically low density, low traffic facilities that have a minimal impact on surrounding areas."
Formal plans are still to come before the village's plan commission in the next several months, when the developer would present more details and the public could provide input.
Once a farm, the site has hosted the WGN tower since 1939.