Mayor Stephen J. Luecke said the City of South Bend has reached an agreement to sell land in Ignition Park to a private company that will build a nearly 50,000-sq-ft data center-the first private, high-tech business in the technology park.

Data Realty LLC, a startup company based at Innovation Park at Notre Dame, will break ground this spring for a Tier III data center serving small to mid-sized businesses in South Bend and throughout the Midwest. Construction may take about 14 months. The data center will be built at Ignition Park’s eastern end on a 4.94-acre site (along Franklin Street between Garst and Stull streets), immediately northwest of the Transpo facility. Data Realty’s site will accommodate a future 40,000-sq-ft addition.

The data center is being developed under the auspices of Graham Allen Partners LLC, a private holding company established to make investments in early-stage, high-growth businesses. Like Data Realty, Graham Allen Partners is based at Innovation Park, which with Ignition Park forms South Bend’s dual-site, state-certified technology park.

“I am excited to welcome Data Realty as the first Innovation Park client to ‘graduate’ to Ignition Park. On land where once Studebaker automobiles were made, Data Realty will manage and analyze data to help businesses succeed in a competitive global environment,” Luecke said. “Besides demonstrating a potential future flow of prospective businesses from Innovation Park, Data Realty exemplifies the kind of high-tech ventures we expect to locate at Ignition Park.

“South Bend’s future has begun at Ignition Park,” Luecke added.

Since 2000, the City of South Bend has demolished old, abandoned buildings in the former Studebaker Corridor in the state’s most aggressive brownfield reclamation effort. Demolition began in January on the last two Studebaker buildings remaining in the 140 acres planned for Ignition Park-the former Studebaker engineering building (the previous home of Studebaker Auto Parts Corp.) and the Studebaker foundry (the former Underground Pipe and Valve building).

As demolition proceeds throughout 2011 across the Ignition Park campus, construction will begin on an estimated $20-million facility for Data Realty, not counting equipment.

Data Realty expects to create 14 full-time positions when the facility first opens, expanding to as many as 30 employees over time.

“We are positioning South Bend for the next wave of computing,” said Rich Carlton, president and chief operating officer of Data Realty. “Ignition Park offers substantial electric power, redundancy and reliability with the Metronet’s infrastructure, and an opportunity to create a green data center that gives us a competitive edge.”

The City’s Redevelopment Commission will work in partnership with Data Realty to help the data center meet architectural and design standards for Ignition Park, including a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation. City officials and Data Realty are collaborating to create a unique energy exchange partnership with Transpo’s adjacent LEED Platinum transit facility, the first public building in Ignition Park. Transpo’s geothermal system would provide some of the base cooling capacity for the data center as exhaust heat from Data Realty’s servers would provide supplemental heat for Transpo.

“This sharing is an innovative approach that saves energy, helps the environment and reduces our carbon footprint,” Luecke said.

A Tier III data center, like Data Realty’s, is the second most stringent class of data center. Levels are defined by the Uptime Institute, a Santa Fe, N.M.,-based think tank.

Ignition Park, together with the 12-acre Innovation Park next to the University of Notre Dame campus, constitutes South Bend’s dual-site, state-certified technology park. Originally designated with 83 acres, Ignition Park is being expanded by City planners to incorporate as many as 140 acres of developable land near downtown South Bend. Located on the former grounds of legendary automaker Studebaker Corp., Ignition Park seeks to attract a variety of innovative companies, especially high-tech and research-based businesses. Some ventures under development at Innovation Park at Notre Dame are expected to put down roots and grow at Ignition Park.

Ignition Park is generally bounded by Sample Street on the north, Lafayette Boulevard on the east, Indiana Avenue on the south and Chapin Street/Prairie Avenue on the west.