The 40-year-old, two-story, 160,000-sf JCPenney building, in the heart of downtown, is about to begin its fourth life as a reservoir for multimillion dollars worth of computers and telecommunications equipment. Besides the department store, the brick structure has housed a city traffic court and a restaurant in its life to date.

Dallas developer Jim Duggan notes the switching hotel has leasing commitments for 75% of the space, even as workers rush to complete renovations and add a third story to the Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street building.

At about $22.50 psf, the building’s rent roll already has potential first-year leasing revenues of $2.7 million. The facelift won’t be completed until the fourth quarter or first quarter 2001.

Smaller switching hotels are also gearing up for an anticipated rush for space by national telecommunications firms who need to be near underground fiber-optic cable courses to connect their networks. In the downtown race are the Signature Plaza building and a Lake Lucerne office structure. Other non-downtown locations are Orlando Central Park in south Orlando and the old Costco warehouse in nearby Eatonville.

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