San Francisco digital company buys land in Franklin Park
A California company has purchased three buildings on Grand Avenue from Frain Group in Franklin Park with plans to convert them to data centers (Mark Lawton/Sun-Times Media)
Updated: August 6, 2012 11:32AM
A 22-acre site in Franklin Park has been sold for redevelopment as a data center.
Digital Realty Trust, a publicly traded company headquartered in San Francisco, purchased three buildings on Grand Avenue owned by the Frain Group.
The purchase comes after three years of effort by Frain and about two years of Digitial Realty Trust looking for a site.
“We’ve historically focused inside the loop,” said Glenn Benoist, vice president of portfolio management. “We had several clients suggest they would like to lease from us but more in a suburban setting.”
Benoist looked at 18 to 20 properties in the Chicago metro area but ultimately chose Franklin Park for the price — $22.3 million — the power infrastructure, industrial design of the buildings which make them easier to adapt, access to fiber-optic cable and proximity to O’Hare.
Frain Group, which sells and leases used and reconditioned packaging equipment, will lease the building at 9377 W. Grand from Digital Realty Trust for the next three years, said Steve Holland, vice president of real estate for Frain Group.
The property was owned by Motorola then later became North American headquarters for Matsushita Corporation before Frain purchased it in 2004. Frain employs about 100 people.
Benoist thinks the Chicago suburbs are becoming more attractive for data centers.
“You get more land, more square footage for your money,” Benoist said, adding that the larger sites available attract some companies.
Benoist is in lease negotiations with several companies. He expects one to six clients for the first building. He estimates that could bring in anywhere from 100 to 250 jobs — not including temporary construction jobs.
Meanwhile, work has started on expanding the electrical capacity of the building at 9333 W. Grand Ave. The building at 9355 W. Grand will be next.
Digital Realty Trust also plans to replace the roof, enhance the exterior, add mechanical infrastructure and office space in addition to computer infrastructure.