Microsoft has gained approval to build a data center outside Chicago, Illinois.

This week, Hoffman Estates village board members approved the first of two planned buildings on the site, as well as work to prepare the site.

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– Hoffman Estates

Microsoft aims to build two data centers on the 53-acre site on the north side of Lakewood Blvd in two phases. Phase one would see a 250,000 sq ft (23,200 sq m) building erected, followed by a second 150,000 sq ft (14,000 sq m) building in phase two along with an electrical substation.

The Chicago Daily Herald reports Microsoft is still in talks with ComEd on how to provide all the power the full build out will require, as currently available infrastructure is only enough to support 60 percent of the capacity of the first building. To meet the demand, an on-site substation has been proposed.

“The substation, the off-site power, those will come back to you [to the board] through a separate site plan approval at a different time,” Peter Gugliotta, the village's director of development services said during the meeting.

“They can't obviously proceed with their full build out until they solve the power solution and get the substation on-site. But they can at least get started, and there's a very long lead time for the building -- upwards of a year and a half -- which is part of why they're anxious to get this phase going while they're still working with ComEd to resolve the power lines.”

A former AT&T campus, the 53-acre site was originally earmarked to become the Hoffman Technology Park and provide office, warehouse and other corporate space. However, Hoffman Technology Park, LLC sold the property in June 2020, to Microsoft Corporation. Plans for a data center on the site were first presented by Syska Hennessy in November 2020, but this is the first time Microsoft has publicly announced their involvement.