RICHARDSON, TX-Site and skin work have begun on the former Collins Technology Park, now known as Digital Realty Trust Datacenter Park. Owner Digital Realty Trust of San Francisco launched renovations on a 106,000-square-foot building, part of the seven-building, 787,000-acre site on which it acquired a 60% joint venture interest with Dallas-based Skyrise Properties.

The long-term plan is to convert the close to 70-acre park into a data center that will offer build-to-suit spaces as well as provisions for turn-key data PODS and power base building improvements to already existing structures. “One of the great things about this asset is that the guts of the buildings in terms of the structures and the floors are excellent,” comments Digital Realty’s senior vice president of corporate development Chris Crosby. “These were built in a different day and time and they’ve held up.” He tells that the first building will be ready to come online in early 2010.

The technology park, located on the east side of Richardson at the intersection of Collins Boulevard and Alma Road, was built following World War II and is considered to be the launch of the city’s famed “Telecom Corridor,” which today consists of many major telecom companies that settled in the area.

Collins Radio took most of the space in the 1950s, and according to a report in the Dallas Morning News, the buildings were constructed with enough strength to hold up to an atomic explosion, which was a concern at the time. The park also had the distinction of being the first industrial development to be built north of Interstate 635.

During its more than 60 years, the park also was home to Rockwell International and Alcatel USA; companies drawn to the site because it had its own power substation. Crosby says the buildings have been vacant since Alcatel moved out some years ago.

Crosby says Digital Realty Trust Datacenter Park is the first project in which the company can offer a variety of product in one location. Because of the PODs, space available can range from a few thousand square feet all the way up to a large build-to-suit. “This is both one of the largest parks and one of the most unique ones we’ve worked with, because of the substation,” he adds.

And once the renovations are complete, which will be subject to market conditions, Crosby says Digital Realty will hold onto the park for a long time. “There’s no exit on the horizon for this one,” he adds.

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