Hammond lands tax credit for $40 million data center that would be the largest in Indiana

A developer wants to build a data center on part of the State Line Generating Plant in Hammond.

It's not a done deal.

But a fiber-optic buzz of promise emanates from Hammond's lakeshore now that state and Hammond officials have joined forces in a quest to land a major tech deal for Northwest Indiana.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., his administrative team and Indiana economic development officials deserve praise for priming a deal that could lead to a major magnet for tech companies in Northwest Indiana and public tax revenue from a currently derelict property.

The deal being brokered would turn 12 of the more than 70 acres of the vacant State Line Generating Plant site on Lake Michigan into a major data center.

City officials announced Wednesday the state had approved $9 million in tax credits for a developer to build the facility on the site.

They elaborated Thursday it could mean between $40 million and $200 million in investment, 100 high-tech jobs and a data facility whose amenities could attract other high-tech business to the Region.

"This would be the largest data center in the state of Indiana," McDermott said. "We'd be in competition with the big boys in Chicago."

Hammond leaders deserve as much acknowledgment for a failed attempt to lure another firm to the site as they do for the promising effort now afoot.

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Last year, a comprehensive city bid failed to land the nationally-touted second corporate headquarters for web-based retail giant, Amazon.

But the failed bid piqued the interest of another developer, ultimately leading to the data center being sought for the lakefront property.

McDermott pointed out that "a lot of people were laughing" at Region bids to land the Amazon headquarters.

Count this editorial board among those who were critical of a similar bid proposed by Gary.

But we all should learn a lesson from the perseverance of our economically struggling urban core to seek out such new opportunities.

Just because the initial attempt fails, doesn't mean there won't be collateral successes.

We wish Hammond well in bringing the data center deal home and appreciate the lesson in tenacity.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Regional News Editor Sharon Ross, Assistant Deputy Editor Andrew Steele.