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AUSTIN-Southwestern Bell is doubling the size of its central switching office that serves customers in the West Lake Hills area southwest of Austin. To do so, the San Antonio-based company has taken 3.28 acres fronting Bee Caves Road off the market.

A company insider tells GlobeSt.com that Southwestern Bell needs the center for demand in the area and to provide space for competitors that might want to break into the market. “This allows us to meet the needs of the community and other people in the area,” the insider says. Dirt is flying on the project.

A central office is a facility that serves a specific geographic area. All phone lines run from a subscriber’s home or office to a CO. Southwestern Bell, a subsidiary of SBC Corp., is the primary provider of local telephone service in Austin.

While it may have seemed like prime property on busy Bee Cave Road, it was the site of several failed restaurants. In its last incarnation, the site was the spot of a pizza restaurant and sports bar.

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