WEST PALM BEACH, FL-Telecom hotel development, already a major focus of activity in Miami, is spreading up the South Florida coast.Three existing local properties are currently being readied for such high-tech tenancies: the Meridian Building on Fern Street, the D&D Centre on North Dixie Highway and a former mattress warehouse at 1016 Clare Ave.

The three-story, 116,000-sf Clare Avenue property was acquired last month by Atlanta-based Holder Properties for an undisclosed sum. Conversion to telecom hotel use is being handled by US TechCenters, a Holder affiliate.

Telecom hotels are generally classified as hybrid space. Rental rates vary, depending on the extent of facility readiness for tech equipment installation and operation.

Flex space, which bears some relationship to this new breed of occupancy, has been commanding an average $8.43 per sf in the West Palm Beach market. Local warehouse space, which was the Clare Avenue building’s former use, has been leasing for an average $6.01 per sf.

Thomas A. Dean, a Cushman & Wakefield director in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office, is leading the marketing effort for the US TechCenters project here. He is optimistic that sufficient demand exists in Central Palm Beach County to fill all of the redeveloped telecom hotel space. And that does not even include a previously announced plan by BellSouth to locate one of three South Florida network access points in West Palm Beach.

Dean says the US TechCenters facility will provide both storage and operational capacity for Internet service providers, local exchange carriers, application service providers and web hosters. The building is a mile from the CBD and three miles from the airport. Cushman & Wakefield is the leasing agent.

About 20 miles south of West Palm Beach in Boca Raton, Terremark Worldwide’s T-Rex Technology Center is being readied. Terremark is also developing the 740,000-sf Technology Center of the Americas in Downtown Miami.

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