Recently Grubb & Ellis Co. hired Jim Kerrigan to serve as senior vice president and director of its newly created National Data Center Practice. The category barely existed a decade ago, but it quickly made an impact during the dot-com boom. Today’s data centers are substantially larger, more expensive and more complex than the co-location facilities and telco hotels of a few years ago. As a result, developing, leasing and selling them increasingly require specific expertise not held by the majority of brokers. interviewed Kerrigan a week after he assumed his new position. The second half of the interview will be posted next week. Why did Grubb create a data center practice?

Kerrigan: Everybody’s been kind of trying to do it, but nobody previously put it all together. At companies like Staubach or Jones Lang LaSalle, there would always be a couple guys focusing on it, but there was no concerted effort to coordinate and integrate their efforts into a larger picture. Grubb & Ellis recognized the need for data center space is not going away. In fact, it’s only going to get larger. So they decided it was time to sharpen the focus on this sector to meet their clients’ needs.

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