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DALLAS-Clinton, MS-based MCI WorldCom has North Texas shuddering as the apparent heir to the largest single footprint in its $300-million real estate portfolio.

WorldCom’s real estate tracking manager, Accruent of Santa Monica, CA isn’t commenting about its client’s holdings. Accruent’s Website spelled out part of the details about WorldCom’s real estate holdings, including the $300-million value. That information was stripped from the Internet yesterday afternoon by the company. In 2001, WorldCom was spending $25 million a month for rent at 10,000 locations in 65 countries. It hired Accruent to reduce the bottom line and improve financial management.

But WorldCom, true to form, apparently kept on growing. One published account pegged WorldCom’s annual rent at $517 million worldwide. Insiders tell GlobeSt.com that 1.5 million sf alone sits in leased sites in North Texas, mostly in the Telecom Corridor.

Acrruent won’t say how large today’s global portfolio is. “They are our customer,” says Don Howren, Accruent vice president of marketing. “We’re treating them like the customer that they are.” That seems to be the case with others, action no doubt linked to rent payments that most building owners say are up to date as WorldCom teeters on the edge of bankruptcy and seeks a lifesaver from the financial advisory ranks.

WorldCom’s penchant for signing leases to keep pace with growth was one of the foundation blocks for the Telecom Corridor, where it started out in 1972 in a small office positioned close to its suppliers. Today, it occupies 12 buildings with Telecom Corridor addresses, one as large as 400,000 sf, well-informed sources say. There’s also a 100,000-sf test center. One source, who asked for anonymity, says “in one sense, the Telecom Corridor is here because of MCI and the companies that supplied the equipment.”

Dallas-based Staubach Co. isn’t talking about its long-time corporate client, except to say that it’s not the only brokerage house with its name on the account although people in the know say it is WorldCom’s lead team.

WorldCom has shaved about 1,000 Dallas-area jobs from its 5,200 peak, hitting primarily in a submarket with a 25.1% vacancy at the end of the first quarter. But the reality is that leases still needed to be signed and WorldCom did just that even as corners were cut in other operational areas.

Just seven months ago, WorldCom closed a 50,000-sf, five-year direct lease at Galleria III, where it had spent the last seven years as a sublease tenant, first with Oryx Petroleum and then Kerr-McGee. Talks began as the North Dallas lease expired. One local broker who jockeyed for the tenant confides the Galleria space came at a much higher rate than the $12 per sf sublease rate.

WorldCom addresses read like a Who’s Who, from 100,000 sf at 32 Avenue of the Americas in New York City to the MCI Tower in Denver, where an extended 125,000-sf lease with Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. is valued at $21 million. The $300-million real estate portfolio runs the gamut from small sales offices to corporate campuses, all part of WorldCom’s fast-track rags-to-riches story that has building owners playing the waiting game to see if it ends in receivership and a space give-back.

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