MIAMI-Developers who construct industrial-use telecommunications buildings will benefit from a new Miami-Dade County zoning classification. The county has adopted a definition known as “telecommunication hubs,” which allows developers to reduce site-parking requirements and possibly increase the leaseable space on projects designed primarily to store high-tech telecommunications equipment.

“Then again, you may have projects of the usual size with just more green area,” Al Torres, chief of the county’s Zoning Services Division, tells

The zoning policy change comes as the telecommunications industry faces what experts consider a market contraction following dramatic increases over the past several years in the number of telecom-related companies such as Internet service providers.

In response to that contraction, developers such as Miami-based Codina Group Inc. and Hollywood, FL-based Swerdlow Real Estate Group Inc. have readjusted the marketing strategies on some properties they originally envisioned solely as industrial/telecommunications sites.

It is just a temporary contraction, says David Voell, a senior vice president at Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc. and a broker who closely monitors the industrial/telecommunications industry in South Florida. Although familiar with the new policy, Voell is uncertain whether the zoning change would have any noticeable impact on the construction of new telecom hubs.

“You’re really limiting the reuse of the building,” Voell says. “That’s going to have some impact on sellers and new buyers.” The new classification also could have an impact on tenants who may need to alter their business plan and offer services that require more workers.

“A tenant would want to safeguard their interests by negotiating a lease exit strategy,” Voell says. If such a change occurs in a tenant’s operating strategy, Torres says, the new zoning policy requires a property owner to readjust the property’s site plan to provide the normal amount of parking required under existing industrial-use classifications.”They’ll have to re-site the plan for more parking; otherwise, they’ll need a variance,” Torres says.

Since telecom hubs typically require less parking than other industrial-use classifications, the Miami-Dade County Commission recently voted 11-0 to reduce the parking requirements on any site constructed to store “computer servers, communications routers, switches and similar machinery or equipment for directing or facilitating communications traffic.”

The new classification requires one parking space per 2,000 sf of gross floor area. In comparison, traditional industrial-use projects must provide one parking space per 1,000 sf feet of gross floor area up to 10,000 sf, then one parking space per 2,000 sf thereafter.

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