Metro Edge Development Partners (Metro Edge) has received site plan approval from the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) for the construction of an exclusive five-story data center in the Illinois Medical District (IMD) in Chicago. This milestone approval paves the way for the development of a high-performance data center that will support the IMD’s vision of a technologically advanced research and medical district. The data center will provide robust digital infrastructure to enhance the IMD ecosystem, which is home to 40+ organizations in healthcare, biotech, government, education, and more.

Building for a Technologically Advanced District

In November of 2021, Metro Edge secured the two-acres of land in the IMD to construct a five-story 185K SF data center to support the medical district’s expanding vision for a high-tech research and medical district for Chicagoland. In spring of 2023, DPD provided site plan approval along with all other relevant agencies to construct the new facility. During the review process the DPD found it compliant with the development regulations for the Chicago Zoning Ordinance. 

The facility will initially offer up to 20 MW of power, with committed and secured power supply from ComEd. The construction will adhere to Tier III standards and incorporate renewable power sources, multiple substations, and N+1 and 2N configuration options to ensure redundancy and reliability. The data center will prioritize water usage efficiency (WUE) by achieving a WUE rating of 0. Furthermore, it will comply with industry standards such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, HITRUST, PCI, SOC 1, and SOC 2. 

Craig Huffman, Co-Founder and CEO of Metro Edge, expresses the company’s commitment to building data centers in underserved urban communities. He states, “This site approval solidifies our vision and promise to create robust, reliable, and digitally advanced ecosystems.” The data center’s strategic downtown location will provide the lowest latency to 350 E. Cermak, supporting the growth of the exciting medical district developments in Chicago.

This site approval establishes Metro Edge’s vision to deliver on one of its foundational principles of bringing a significant technology investment to an underserved urban community through the development of a state-of-the-art data center. Currently Metro Edge has 11 On-Net network carrier partners and can guarantee the lowest latency to 350 E. Cermak. The downtown location is set to support one of the most exciting medical district developments in the country. 

Anchoring Digital Infrastructure for the IMD Ecosystem

The IMD is a vibrant special-use zone district spanning 560 acres and encompassing medical research facilities, labs, biotech business incubators, universities, and more than 40 healthcare-related facilities. Serving over 80,000 visitors daily, including 29,000 employees, the IMD is the second largest medical district in the country. Metro Edge’s data center development will serve as the exclusive anchor for the IMD’s digital infrastructure, facilitating connectivity for healthcare, research, education, and life science organizations in and around the district.

Sustainability Standards

Metro Edge is committed to exceeding the sustainability standards of the industry. In addition to a water use efficiency (WUE) of zero, Metro Edge has been surpassing the base standards for data centers in Chicago by planting trees, reducing indoor water usage by more than 25%, and  offering EV charging stations for employees. Metro Edge has also achieved greater than 80% waste diversion, avoiding sending multiple tons of waste to landfills. The Tier III data center construction is designed to LEED certified standards and will use renewable power sources in N+1 and 2N configuration options.

Recognition and Pre-Leasing Interest

The site plan approval received from the DPD is a testament to Metro Edge’s compliance with the development regulations set forth by the Chicago Zoning Ordinance. The proposed data center development underwent rigorous review and gained approval from all relevant city departments. Metro Edge is already generating significant interest from firms seeking to lease space in the data center, as they recognize the opportunity to be in close proximity to healthcare, research, education, and life science institutions within the IMD and downtown Chicago.

Metro Edge’s receipt of site plan approval for the new Chicago Metro data center in the IMD marks a significant milestone in the company’s mission to build robust and reliable data center ecosystems in underserved urban communities. The approved development will enhance the IMD’s vision of a technologically advanced research and medical district, serving as an anchor for the district’s digital infrastructure. With a commitment to sustainability and compliance with industry standards, Metro Edge is poised to create a cutting-edge data center facility that will attract leading organizations seeking proximity to the IMD’s thriving healthcare, research, and educational institutions.

Metro Edge is currently fielding numerous pre-leasing requests from firms that see the new data center as an opportunity to gain proximity to healthcare, research, education, and life science organizations within the IMD and downtown Chicago. To learn more about Metro Edge, visit