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Lakefront Hammond data center to include tech incubator, Purdue greenhouse

An early rendering of the lakefront data center planned in Hammond.

CROWN POINT — The Lake County Economic Development Commission approved a $500,000 loan Wednesday to the developers of a digital data center.

Timothy Brown, commission direct said the money will be used to buy optic fiber cable and to design a data storage system to be leased by international carriers, cellphone providers, banks, telecommunications companies, tech companies, insurance firms, large pharmacy chains and content providers like Netflix and Hulu.

It would be built on the site of the now-demolished State Line Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant that was built in the 1920s on the Hammond lakefront that had become a major environmental polluter.

Brown said NAP LLC developers gave a presentation to the commission about their plans to build a 105,000-square-foot facility on the 77-acre site on Lake Michigan at the border of Hammond and Chicago.

They plan at least $40 million in investments, creating 250 construction jobs, and eventually could build 1 million square feet of computer server storage space for companies to lease to house their data and help provide better graphics and a quicker internet.

Brown said they can borrow the money at 3-percent interest for three years. He said the developers are offering part of the land they are purchasing as collateral for the loan.

He said securing this loan will help the developers persuade the financial markets to provide the bulk of the money needed to build the facility.

Brown said the economic development commission has lent more than $1 million to a handful of local firms to expand their businesses.

The data center project is expected set aside some land for the Marquette Greenway Trail that connects Chicago to Northwest Indiana. It also will have a greenhouse so Purdue University Northwest students can do research there and a tech incubator that Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. insisted on.

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Lake County Reporter

Bill has reported in Lake County since 1972 after graduating from Indiana University. He has worked for The Times since 1997, covering the courts and local government during much of his tenure. Born and raised in New Albany, Ind., he is a native Hoosier.