The Potawatomi Business Development Corporation (PBDC)—the economic diversification arm of the Forest County Potawatomi (FCP)—broke ground and held a tribal blessing ceremony on Monday May 7th at 11 a.m. to mark the start of construction of a $36 million multi-tenant wholesale data center.

The two-story, 45,000 sq-ft data center known as Data Holdings, LLC, is located at the Tribe’s 11-acre Concordia Trust Property site at the intersection of 33rd and State Streets in Milwaukee. Since plans were first announced earlier this year, potential tenant interest has been strong.

The Milwaukee Institute, a non-profit information technology organization that provides cloud-based-technical computing systems, plans to locate its third phase of storage and computing resources at Data Holdings. These resources will help facilitate modeling, simulation, and visualization studies of regional grand challenge problems.

Several other potential tenants have also signed letters of intent.

“Currently, there is not a data center in southeastern Wisconsin that has the level and scale of technology that Data Holdings offers,” said Dan McGrath, a data center industry executive with more than 30 years experience. “Additionally the proximity to Illinois will make this data center attractive to Chicago and Northern Illinois businesses.”

McGrath is founder of TMI and co-founder/CEO of NewAge Data Solutions. The PBDC has engaged TMI, one of the nation’s leading data center services companies, to design the Data Holdings center. NewAge Data Center Solutions, a TMI affiliate, will manage marketing, sales, and operations.

The Data Holdings’ facility will be a wholesale, Tier III enhanced, carrier neutral data center. The center’s office space and dedicated data suites will offer tenants a cost-effective, flexible, secure and highly reliable IT facility for primary data center and secondary disaster recovery data center needs. Tenants best suited for the center are medium to large sized businesses that need at least a thousand square-feet of information storage space but prefer not to invest in building their own site.

”In addition to its commitment to providing regional users with facilities appropriate for their administrative computing needs, Data Holdings is building a modern datacenter with redundant power, cooling and communications capabilities required for high-performance research computing systems,” said Jay Bayne, PhD, Executive Director, Milwaukee Institute. “We’re proud to support Data Holdings in addressing the region’s growing appetite for academic and commercial research computing applications. Both of these activities require secure high-availability space for and fast network access to large and expanding data storage resources.”

The site of the date center is an ideal location because of access to diverse power sources and multiple fiber carriers, each which provides the necessary redundancy and back up data center customers require. Additionally, the location poses no threats and vicinity risks that have the potential to disrupt power or connectivity, and as such jeopardize data access and integrity.

Besides serving tenant information storage needs, Data Holdings will also support the technology infrastructure for the FCP’s Milwaukee-area business and tribal government operations.

“This ground breaking and blessing marks the beginning of exciting phase of new development at the Tribe’s Concordia Trust Property/Wgema Campus,” said Kip Ritchie, Potawatomi Business Development Corporation COO and Potawatomi Tribal member. “We are grateful to tribal leadership past and present for their vision and commitment to the data center and broader development projects at the Concordia site.”

Greenfire Management Services, a PBDC-subsidiary, will lead the Data Holdings construction with tenant occupancy targeted for the second quarter of 2013. Both the construction and operation of the facility will create local job opportunities and enhance the Milwaukee region’s overall IT infrastructure and reputation.