AHA is Transforming Coal to Digital

AHA is excited to serve as an MEP design partner for the new highly-anticipated, 400,000 SF, 40 MW Digital Crossroads data center to be located on a 77-acre parcel at the base of Lake Michigan in Hammond, Indiana: once the site of the largest coal-fired power plant in the world.

The opportunity to transform the once heavy, dirty industrial site into a cleaner, high-tech campus of the future was realized. This significant endeavor relies heavily on subsidies and grants awarded through the State of Indiana NAP (Neighborhood Assistance Program), with the potential infusion of $9 M in state tax credits for Hammond.

Knowing data centers require massive amounts of electricity, water and space, the acquisition of the State Line property provides easy access to all three, thanks to the remaining substation infrastructure and access to Lake Michigan. Digital Crossroads will generate its own renewable energy for cooling and supplemental power using wind turbines and solar panels, as well as natural gas-fired generators and the use of a micro-grid. The first 100,000 SF building is currently designed for 10 MW with the goal of the planned multi-building campus to be 400,000 SF, offering 40 MW in capacity.

Not only will the massive Digital Crossroads data center provide server space for national companies and major institutions, there are long-term plans to develop a tech startup incubator, renewable energy generation and a greenhouse warmed by waste heat from the servers.

“That’s a 21st century operation,” said Peggy Salazar, Executive Director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force in Chicago, which had long been active in repurposing the site around the State Line plant. “Data centers don’t generate a lot of jobs beyond construction, but if they maximize the green energy and the tech incubator, that creates jobs, and it’s the wave of the future.”