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SAN FRANCISCO-Digital Realty Trust Inc. signed new leases representing more than $1 billion in contract value in 2008, double the value of 2007 leases, according to the company’s year-end tally of fourth-quarter and full-year leasing results. The REIT, which specializes in datacenter space, noted that leasing activity remained strong in the fourth quarter despite the recession, which has slowed leasing throughout most property types.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, the company signed leases totaling more than 1.1 million square feet, including approximately 594,000 square feet of turnkey datacenter space leased at an average annual GAAP rental rate of $153 per square foot. The total also included more than 299,000 square feet of space leased at an average annual GAAP rental rate of $56 per square foot, and approximately 242,000 square feet of non-technical space leased at an average annual GAAP rental rate of $18 per square foot.

For the fourth quarter, the company signed leases totaling approximately 276,000 square feet, including approximately 120,000 square feet of turnkey datacenter space at an average annual rate of $180 per square foot, approximately 8,000 square feet at an average of $54 per square foot and approximately 149,000 square feet of non-technical space at an average annual of $17 per square foot.

Digital Realty owns 12.9 million sf in 74 properties in 24 markets in Europe and North America. Michael F. Foust, CEO of Digital Realty, attributed the leasing figures to “strong demand for high quality datacenter space” combined with widespread adoption of the company’s turnkey datacenter space. He noted that the leases average approximately 8.5 years.

The new leasing was especially noteworthy in light of “the very difficult economic environment in the fourth quarter,” commented Chris Crosby, senior vice president of sales and technical services for Digital Realty. He said that the increased leasing “is indicative of the critical nature of datacenter facilities” in today’s world.

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