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MIAMI-The race to build the dominant telecommunications hub in this city is becoming more frenzied. One entrant, the proposed $150-million project of ABR Infocom, has now received unanimous approval from the city’s Urban Development Review Board.

But competing telco hotel plans remain very much in the race. The big prize is becoming the flagship facility to house the technical equipment of multiple users linking the United States and Latin America.

Miami-based ABR Infocom, headed by Brian Friedman, is a partnership including Alex. Brown Realty, affiliated with the Alex. Brown securities firm; and The Telesource Group, a developer of telecommunications and information technology space.

ABR reports it already has 2.4 million sf of tech facilities under development in West Palm Beach and Tampa, FL, as well as in Cleveland and Toledo, OH.

What the firm has dubbed the Miami International Infocom Center is to be a 17-story, 1.2-million-sf building situated on a two-acre site at 50 SE Second St. in the Downtown area.

Featured would be such telecom amenities as a Network Access Point and immediate connection to all Downtown fiber routes. On-site parking is planned for 500 vehicles. The location adjoins a Metromover station, part of Miami’s mass-transit system.

In published accounts, Patricia Allen, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, says the ABR Infocom project is “part of the engine fueling the Miami business district’s economic development and job creation.”

The most direct competitor of the ABR Infocom plan appears to be Terremark Worldwide, another locally based firm that has proposed a Downtown facility called the Technology Center of the Americas. It would also hotel the equipment of multiple users in providing high-speed telecom connectivity.

Others in the race to tap a potentially rich tenant market are regional telecom provider BellSouth, which wants to develop three NAPs in South Florida; Swerdlow Real Estate Group, with four sites in the region blueprinted for so-called LightSpeed Infrastructure units; and Argent Ventures, which is seeking to transform Miami’s former Omni International shopping mall into a tech center.

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