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READING, PA-Directlink Technologies, a company formed here by Arthur Quinlan, president, and Al Boscov, chairman of locally based Boscov’s chain of 41 department stores, has acquired the 292,000-sf former Met-Ed regional operations center. The facility is being renamed the Directlink Technology Center. Directlink will occupy a portion of the building and offer the remainder for lease.

Met-Ed, a service subsidiary of Akron, OH-based FirstEnergy Service Co., consolidated operations at another FirstEnergy facility here and in other locations. Directlink is a partner under FirstEnergy’s fiber-optic network.

This is a two-section facility located on 20 acres just off the US Route 222 and Route 183 interchange. The building’s sections were completed in 1976 and 1984, Colton Brown of GVA Williams New Jersey tells GlobeSt.com. He and John Susanin, VP of Wayne-based GVA Smith Mack represented FirstEnergy and Met-Ed. Directlink was self represented.

Quinlan tells GlobeSt.com Directlink paid, “a little shy of $8 million for the facility.” There are two components of space available for lease. The all-in rental rate for the commercial space is $15 per sf. Space in the data center, which totals between 65,000 sf and 70,000 sf, will be about $20 per sf. Quinlan notes that is not an all-in cost. “The data draw on utilities can be significant and would be charged in addition to the base rent.” Directlink has retained Brown and Susanin to handle leasing.

Quinlan says the building is currently 45% occupied, including Directlink’s own space. “We have a range of interested prospective tenants, primarily from pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.”

Directlink was founded as part of a series of revitalization initiatives started by Boscov and supported by Gov. Ed Rendell and the state’s economic development committee. The company is designed to provide a variety of tech services, including fiber-optic data transport and telecom, outsourcing of tech support and development, data center integration and call center operations to other companies. The state is providing up to $10.8 million in loans and grants to Directlink. “The funding is performance-based,” Quinlan says, “and will be related to job-creation among other criteria over time.”

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