Aurora looks to recapture some I-88 interchange costs in deal that would help CyrusOne expand

Aurora officials are calling it the classic win-win situation.

A change in zoning use for 30 acres along Bilter Road, just west of the westbound access to Interstate 88 on the far East Side, could allow an Aurora company to expand, and the city to recapture some of the costs associated with that I-88 interchange about 16 years ago.

The Aurora company is Dallas-based CyrusOne, LLC, which operates a large data center at Diehl and Eola roads. The company originally had a 428,000-square-foot building there which it purchased, and added a 440,000-square-foot addition next door.

CyrusOne is now running out of space, and wants to build another 428,000-square-foot building on the 30 acres near their current facility.

CyrusOne has 24 data centers across the country, but the Aurora one is one of its most significant because it handles data for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, as well as a number of foreign exchanges. The company serves nine of the Fortune 20 and 180 of the Fortune 1000 companies, along with more than 950 customers.

The company approached the city about changing zoning for the 30 acres, one of the final pieces of the DuPage Ventures property that brought the Butterfield development to the city.

The city has marketed the property for years as a potential home for a hotel, and at one point, specifically banned data centers from consideration for it.

But Alex Alexandrou, the city’s chief management officer, said the market has changed, and not only are data centers in high demand, the area near Cyrus One is becoming a home for them.

Endeavour Edged, an international data center company, is currently building a $500 million, carbon-neutral project in three buildings at Bilter and Eola roads, just to the east of the 30 acres CyrusOne is considering.

Edged officials have said they would bring a Fortune 100 company, such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or Amazon, as an anchor user of the buildings.

The company also is building a five-station electric vehicle charging facility that would include a retail building, for something like a coffee shop, that could expand in the future.

As far as hotel uses go, the city now has the $360 million Hollywood Casino-Aurora resort, which is set to feature a hotel, planned just to the west at Bilter Road and Farnsworth Avenue.

The city and CyrusOne currently are negotiating a deal to change the zoning for a fee. Alexandrou said the city could recapture some of the $9.3 million it spent in 2008 on the interchange project.

“We spent significant resources,” he said.

Aldermen placed a resolution authorizing execution of a memorandum of agreement with CyrusOne on the consent agenda for the Feb. 13 City Council meeting. When an agreement is reached, city staff will bring it back before the council for approval.