CHICAGO-Communications solutions provider OptimalPATH Digital Network Inc. has named the team it hopes can implement a $1.25 billion high-tech development plan. The plan is centered around Telecom iCampus Development Partners (TDP), OptimalPATH’s new real estate arm, and calls for development of 15 million-sf of high-tech space in 26 “iCampuses” around the country.

“OptimalPATH will provide the link between A and B buildings Downtown to TDP’s iCampuses to create a wide-area-network,” says James Bower, TDP’s newly appointed EVP for development services. Bowers says the goal, eventually, is to link all of TDP’s local wide-area-networks into a national wide-area-network. This national network will itself then link to other developers’ networks to create national and, eventually, global seamless connectivity.

“We expect to announce within two weeks a partnership with a major European network of data centers that is being developed,” says Jack Pressman, CEO and co-founder of OptimalPATH. “This partner is one of the biggest property owners in the world. We will also be partnering with them in Asia, where they already have a large, traditional real estate presence.”

Pressman says that $150 million in financing will be announced soon. He said he expects to have as much as $500 million of financing for TDP’s iCampus development in place by the first quarter. He would not name from what entities the financing is expected to come.

OptimalPATH, based here, named nine key executives to run TDP, including Dana O’Banion as EVP acquisitions, Michael Jasso as SVP development and Peter Capps as SVP brokerage services. TDP also named seven members of its new Design/Build Services unit, which will provide customized planning for clients taking space in the company’s iCampus facilities.

TDP’s ambitious plan is still in its infancy and Bowers admits the firm is entering an already crowded field. “Many of the best sites have already been taken,” says Bowers. “In addition to our presence in Chicago, we are negotiating for sites or land in New York, Miami, Hawaii and San Jose.” In a press release yesterday, TDP said it is also scouting sites in Tempe, AZ, Detroit, Dallas, Denver and Seattle.

TDP has two developments going here, one of which is a $35-million, 200,000-sf redevelopment of a former warehouse facility in the booming West Loop. Much bigger is the $50-million, 600,000-sf redevelopment of the former Commonwealth Edison distribution and administrative facility in the Pilsen neighborhood on the South Side.

OptimalPAth was founded about a year ago by Pressman along with OptimalPATH executives Dick Mulvihill and John Cunningham. Pressman says OptimalPATH’s initial funding came from venture capitalists Communications Infrastructure Development Co., on whose board Pressman sits.

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