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PLANO, TX-Capstar Commercial Real Estate Services and data center developer the Planet have joined forces to fill the latter’s recently completed, 106,000-square-foot facility. The center in the city’s southeast quadrant is the Planet’s seventh in Texas, and the Houston-headquartered company is in the evaluation phase of other locations for potential expansion.

Leasing data centers is different from leasing the standard office or industrial space because the usage is data storage – referred to as “co-location” – rather than people-based activities. Because of this, the newest center in Plano’s Jupiter/190 Business Park takes after its six predecessors in that its in an area with a lot of power, an abundance of fiber, close to major freeways but not so close as to be visible, in an area in which co-location demand is high, and not in a flight path of airports. “We have about 20 major criteria we look at when choosing new sites,” explains Jeff Lowenberg, the Planet’s vice president, facilities.

The other appealing aspect of the facility, continues the company’s vice president of global sales Tom Blair, is that it was in shell condition when the Planet bought earlier in the year. “We wanted an existing building we could construct to our specifications versus a greenfield situation,” Blair tells GlobeSt.com

The build-out, he goes on to say, included separating the area into 12,000 square-foot “pods” for data equipment storage, adding chillers for the air conditioning, raising the floor and putting together a state-of-the-art electrical infrastructure. Then there is a network operations center for the human element; in other words, the technicians who need a place to monitor everything. “We’re breaking a lot of concrete and spending a lot of money on these,” Blair says.

And there will be more; in a typical data center development, the whole thing isn’t built out at once. First the pods are filled, then more space is built out. In the case of the Plano facility, some clients have already come on board and Lowenberg says the company is planning for the next build-out phase of the center.

In the meantime, the overall goal is to finish leasing up the facility, which is where Capstar Commercial comes in. “What I was surprised to learn is that once you get into some of these larger co-location deals, they aren’t necessarily handled by IT groups, but by real estate groups,” Lowenberg tells GlobeSt.com “But Capstar has a terrific knowledge of data center space and a lot of good relationships with real estate companies with customers that need co-location space.”

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