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INDIANAPOLIS-Computer-room provider Lifeline Data Centers has closed on the purchase of the former Eastgate Mall here at Washington and Shadeland, and plans to spend $23 million to transform the mall into a data center and offices. Rumor has it that the company bought the 370,000-sf mall in a bankruptcy auction from JTL Capital for $26 million.

Doug Theis, SVP of business development for Lifeline, says his firm will make 60,000 sf in the mall into data center use, and another 200,000 sf of office space. “The numbers don’t add up, because we won’t be leasing out the common areas of the mall,” he tells GlobeSt.com. The company will also build four 100,000 sf buildings for more data center space, Theis says. He says the firm needs the office space because “we found that with using this type of space, clients also need some office space to go along with it, they often bring in 20 or 30 IT folks and their equipment.”

The mall was built in 1957 as an open-air facility, then was enclosed in 1972. The mall has been vacant for many years, Theis says. The former owner bought the mall from Simon, which had tried, but failed, to do a redevelopment at the property. “We have to switch the zoning from commercial to industrial, the rule is that if a building has no windows it must be zoned industrial. But the city is so happy to have us there it won’t be a problem,” Theis says. The city also is giving the company a $1.4 million tax abatement for five years, sources say.

Theis says demand for data centers has been outlandish. “There’s no end in sight, there’s a lot of people building, thought the climate is not favorable for financing if you’re not already in the business,” he says. “Indianapolis is a great place, because it has a unique convergence of features, such as cheap power, a central location, great access to connectivity and a low-cost housing market.”

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