HAMMOND - The face of the old economy is being replaced with the shell representing the new economy as construction crews have completed the exterior framing of a $40 million data center in Hammond. A coal-fired power plant once stood on this property near the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report work will continue through the winter months on the Digital Crossroads data center as the outside of the 105,000-square-foot building is now complete.

"We have walls up," said Tom Dakich, who is an Indianapolis attorney and project developer. "We are moving ahead very quickly with all the fiber aspects. We're hoping to continue to get good weather."

Workers are hooking up fiber infrastructure that will transmit mass quantities of data to and from the site.

The publication says the facility could store data for large companies, like streaming services, health care systems and e-commerce sites. The Times says this is the first phase of what could become a $200 million high tech campus.

Local officials say the data center project is potentially transformative for the area, as the digital infrastructure could help attract or foster more high-tech companies. Dakich hopes to see the data center open during the first quarter of 2020.