Richardson industrial campus getting a makeover


Richardson industrial campus getting a makeover

A Richardson industrial campus is getting a makeover that will turn it into one of the region's largest data and telecommunications complexes.
Digital Realty Trust – a San Francisco company that builds and owns technology-related real estate – plans to redevelop the 70-acre former Collins Technology Park in Richardson. The conversion of the seven buildings into a data center park will be done in partnership with Dallas-based Skyrise Properties, which has owned the project for several years.

The data center project just east of North Central Expressway is in the midst of the Telecom Corridor – home to many of North Texas' high-tech firms. More than 15,000 computer professionals work within a 30-mile radius of the planned data center, the developer said. "We think this is an ideal market from a corporate data center perspective," said Chris Crosby, Digital Realty Trust's senior vice president of corporate development. "We have already had quite a few clients going through the property. "We plan on having our first facilities available at the start of next year." The buildings, which were recently remodeled, will be further upgraded to accommodate equipment for telecommunications and data processing.

"These things are the infrastructure for the information age," Crosby said. "It's where companies are doing business now."
75 properties

Digital Realty Trust has 75 properties in the U.S. and abroad with about 13 million square feet. Its current local facilities are in downtown Dallas, North Dallas and Carrollton, Crosby said. The Richardson property – which previously housed operations for Collins Radio, Rockwell International and Alcatel – has its own power substation that can provide large amounts of affordable electricity, he said.

"The power piece is a huge driver because oftentimes the power is more than the rent" for companies that use data center space, Crosby said. "We are able to offer power at prices you can't get anywhere else."

Postwar origins
The property on East Collins Boulevard at Alma Road was where Richardson's Telecom Corridor got its start after World War II. "It was Collins Radio back in the 1950s," said Richardson City Manager Bill Keffler. "Those buildings were built strong enough to take an atom bomb – a big concern at that time with defense contractors. "It's a unique campus because it's so secure." Keffler said Richardson officials have been eager to see the property redeveloped since Alcatel moved out several years ago. "There shouldn't be anything stopping it from becoming the largest single data center complex in the country," he said. "It's not a huge employment generator but an unbelievable tax base."

The Richardson high-tech project is the latest in a series of recent data centers announced in North Texas. "It's one of the bright spots in Dallas real estate right now," Crosby said.

By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News


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