Lightower acquires ColocationZone, shores up Chicago data center holdings

Lightower has reached a deal to acquire ColocationZone, a move that will immediately enhance its ability to serve a mix of carriers and businesses that reside in downtown Chicago.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ColocationZone is located in the 725 South Wells data center Meet Me Room in downtown Chicago, on the South Loop of the city's Central Business District. By striking this deal, Lightower will assume the operations of the Meet Me Room for the entire 725 South Wells facility, which is owned by Digital Capital Partners, LLC.

Besides offering clients options to expand their cage and cabinet space, the 6,500 sq. foot facility is also a key interconnection hub offering access to nine other service providers, including Lightower's fiber network. It provides access to 8,500 locations, including more than 175 data centers, 40+ financial exchanges, and more than 250 carrier hotels and central offices.

"It's really well finished space and is not an empty shell that we have to go in and spend a lot of money to upgrade," said Philip Olivero, CTO for Lightower, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "It's move in ready and a lot of money was spent by ColocationZone in 2013 and they have a meet me room with a number of providers in there already, including ourselves, that will provide fiber connectivity that we put into the space." 

An additional benefit of the 725 South Wells facility is that it also offers a direct fiber connection to the 350 E. Cermak data center, which will appeal to customers that need a low-latency link between the two sites.

"ColocationZone's facility in the downtown business district is a great fit for Lightower as we continue to expand in, and invest in, the Chicago market," said Rob Shanahan, CEO and president of Lightower, in a release. "Demand for enterprise-class data center services continues to grow in the Chicago market and 725 South Wells provides a perfect alternative to the 350 E. Cermak Road facility."

Buying ColocationZone complements Lightower's fiber-build efforts in Chicago.

In 2014, the service provider completed the buildout of fiber rings throughout downtown Chicago and the surrounding communities of Oak Brook, Elk Grove and Franklin Park. This fiber network will serve as an onramp to a large number of commercial buildings and data centers throughout the area.

"This really builds upon the investments we have been making in Chicago and is in large part a response to the demand we have seen for data center services," Olivero said. "We have been building fiber routes not only in downtown of Chicago, but we expanded into O'Hare, Oak Brook, and Franklin Park, which is all completed."

One of the data center demands that Lightower is seeing a dual demand for not only private cloud services, but also private fiber-based connections that bypass the Internet. Lightower can serve these requirements via a host of options, including dedicated fiber or switched Ethernet.

"Not only does the actual cloud infrastructure have to be private and secure, but also the connectivity," Olivero said. "The default connections to the cloud have typically been through the Internet so our clients not only want the cloud to be private and secure, but also the connectivity not go through the Internet." 

For more:
- see the release

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Lightower expands Chicago fiber network presence

This article was updated on March 18 with additional information from Lightower.