Data centre provider Cologix has begun construction on a $130 million (approx. £97 million) data centre expansion in Columbus, Ohio. The facility will extend the current data centre estate located on the company’s 8-acre Midwestern Scherers Court campus.

According to the company’s release, the completed data centre is expected to offer 160,000 sq.ft and 18-megawatt capacity, with the first phase launching by mid-2017. Cologix claims that the structure will be built to withstand force winds of up to 200mph.

Cologix also owns facilities across the U.S. and Canada, in Dallas, New Jersey, Minneapolis, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto. New Jersey was Cologix’s latest investment, after acquiring rival provider Net Access last October.

With the Columbus build Cologix is looking to further its reach over cloud providers as well as traditional enterprise companies. The existing data centre facilities on the Ohio campus primarily host network and cloud service providers.

The facility, based close to the intersection of major cross-country fibre optic cables, is now home to the Ohio Internet Exchange (IX), used by leading telecom carriers, ISPs and high-traffic websites in the region. Previously, Ohio traffic had to travel to and from Chicago or New York City.

Columbus, recently promoted to major internet traffic hub status, is growing in popularity as a tech and data centre destination. The city’s population has risen to over 2 million, and it enjoys a solid business economy. A recent study found that Columbus-based startups grew their staff faster in the first ten years than any other city in the States.

Amazon is also jumping on the data centre opportunities in the region, last year finalising its plans to invest over $1 billion in data centre construction across three localities in the state. The cloud giant also secured a long-term energy purchase agreement with a wind farm developer working on a 100-megawatt wind project in Paulding County, Ohio.