CHICAGO-Two new data centers facilities are on the drawing boards here that would cost a total of at least $550 million to build.

Equinix Inc. of Redwood City, CA is in negotiations to invest approximately $350 million to build a new data center at 111 E. Cermak Road, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. James McHugh Construction Co. would lease the land to Equinix if a deal is finalized.

Meanwhile, Sterling Bay Companies of Chicago confirms it has formed a partnership with St. Louis-based data center firm Ascent Corp. to build a data center project at 717-727 S. Desplaines St. The cost of the new facility has been pegged at $200 million or more.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s wrath on the East Coast, the Midwest is seeing increased data center activity. “The vulnerability of Manhattan and New Jersey, there were a lot of data centers that suffered outages,” said Phil Horstmann, president and CEO of Ascent. “We’re having a lot of tenants with a renewed interest in the central part of the country. There’s a lot of wheels in motion as a result of the storm.”

Sterling Bay acquired the property for approximately $23.5 million last year. See story at