The city of Sault Ste. Marie is now a step closer to developing a data centre. The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) today announced that it has issued a request for proposal (RFP) to seek a proponent interested in establishing a data centre in the community. The completion of a data centre, which would house computer systems and digital storage systems for local and global organizations, is an important component to advancing the information technology sector in the community.
“We are excited to engage with private sector companies to create awareness of the opportunity that exists in Sault Ste. Marie,” said Tom Vair, executive director, SSMIC. “Sault Ste. Marie offers unique advantages for data centre facilities including interested anchor tenants, a surplus of renewable energy, redundant broadband infrastructure and its strategic location on the border of the United States.”
In February, the SSMIC, in partnership with Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC), retained the services of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF) to complete a feasibility study to develop a new co-location or managed services data centre in the community. NGKF evaluated customer demand along with Sault Ste. Marie’s competitive advantages for data centre services. Based on these results, community stakeholders are advancing to the next stage and eager to establish a Tier III data centre in the community.
“This is a foundational component of advancing the efforts of the community in the digital economy,” said Tom Dodds, CEO of the SSMEDC. “The information communication technology sector is one of our key focus areas in Sault Ste. Marie and we’re very pleased to see progress on this front. With our community’s strategic location and other advantages, we’re working to bolster this sector, which will ultimately generate wealth and create jobs in Sault Ste. Marie.”
The recently completed feasibility study included direct stakeholder interviews to gauge local demand and outreach to data centre operators. Sault Ste. Marie is home to a number of organizations with significant IT operations, including the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. The community is currently advancing its plans to develop the lottery and gaming sector, and the proposed data centre would also add further momentum to this initiative. SSMIC is working closely with the SSMEDC and City of Sault Ste. Marie on this project.
The data centre RFP is divided into a two phase process. Phase I will identify qualified companies with direct experience in data centre design and construction. Firms that qualify will be provided the recently completed feasibility study and supporting documentation. During Phase II, the selection committee will evaluate proposals and engage with a company interested in the design, construction and operation of a data centre in Sault Ste. Marie.