CHICAGO (CBS) — Demolition will soon begin on a 63-year old building in Franklin Park that once served as the headquarters for the Motorola Corporation.
The facility at 9401 W. Grand Av. once made televisions, but has sat empty for years. On Wednesday, village officials and Digital Realty Trust held a ceremonial start of demolition, with several people holding up sledgehammers. Actual demolition will take place this week.
“I was hoping they’d blow it up, but I really didn’t think it was going to be a reality,” said Franklin Park resident Bill McMurray, who showed up for the ceremony.
“If people came here to see an explosion, they’re going to be thoroughly disappointed,” Franklin Park Mayor Barrett Pedersen said.
Pedersen the demolition is bittersweet, even though Motorola left the village in the 1970s for Schaumburg.
The old Motorola headquarters will be replaced with a 500,000-square-foot data center, which will be used to house servers and other high-tech equipment to provide data storage and cloud computing for Digital Realty clients.
“I believe they used to make the old TV sets here a long time ago. So now we’re transitioning to everything sort of being on line now, and everyone sort of watching their movies, TV shows, everything through their phone or through their iPads,” said senior asset manager Rafal Rak.
The $300 million data center will be built in phases over the next two to five years, according to Rak.
“Our goal here is to make this a LEED Certified building. With that, we’re going to recycle about 90% of the existing building,” he said.
LEED certification is a rating system that evaluates a building’s environmental performance – from construction materials to green technology.
Rak said he expects at least 150 jobs to be created after construction is complete.