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FORT LAUDERDALE-At least 6.5 million sf of new or adaptive-reuse space in South Florida is currently up or being planned for tech-related occupancies, according to a new report by Colliers International.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are becoming increasingly important locations for dot-com operations. Marketing the region as the “InternetCoast” is part of the pitch to both domestic and foreign companies.

Swerdlow Real Estate Group is one of the most active firms on this front. Operating from main offices in Hollywood through its LightSpeed Infrastructure unit, Swerdlow has blueprinted four sites totaling more than three million sf of high-tech space in Miami-Dade and Broward.

Among Swerdlow’s high-tech developments are Beacon Tradeport in the Miami Airport West market where up to two million sf could be built on 90 acres; Miami Center in Coral Gables where 300,000 sf of space is already being leased; Broward Center at I-95 and Cypress Creek Road where some 700,000 sf of construction is to be built on a park-and-ride lot; and 91,000 sf in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, which is being converted from retail uses.

Terremark Properties of Coral Gables is another major player in the high-tech development market, according to Colliers. Through its T-Rex operation, Terremark is focusing on space to house telecommunications equipment. A new Network Access Point facility is in the advanced planning stage for Downtown Miami, while the 1.8 million-sf former IBM complex in Boca Raton is already reported to be 80% leased, with additional construction under consideration.

Existing major properties being transformed by other developers for tech tenancies include the 1.04 million sf Omni Mall and the 174,000-sf former BellSouth Building, both in Downtown Miami, and the 188,500-sf former Allied Signal facility in Fort Lauderdale.

The growing importance of this market segment was illustrated by the recent sale of the six-story, 75,000-sf Meridian Building in Downtown West Palm Beach to house fiber-optic lines and telecommunications switches in demand by tech companies. The new owner, a New Jersey group operating as Node Com Inc., bought the property for nearly 150% more than the seller paid for it just two years earlier.

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