Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dallas Data Centers

By David Gross

About to host its first World Series, the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex is growing by nearly 150,000 people a year, and is now the largest metro area between Chicago and California.  It also represents one of the most interesting data center markets in the U.S..  Its tenant mix reflects its deep legacy in telecommunications, with the million square foot+ Infomart building at 1950 North Stemmons representing the city's equivalent to 111 8th Avenue or 350 East Cermak, and just about every telecom provider serving a business co-locating, cross-connecting, or exchanging traffic there.    Beyond telecommunications, there are two defining traits of the Dallas market: hosting companies and an outsized presence by Digital Realty.

Dallas' strength with hosting providers is tied to the GI Partners/Digital Realty dominance of the market, as well as a lucky (or smart) situation Rackspace walked into six years ago.   While I have focused here on data centers where there is a well-known publicly traded company owning or leasing space, which means my list is not entirely comprehensive, Dallas is very different that other large data center markets in that DuPont Fabros, Coresite, and Equinix have a very limited presence in the DFW area.  While Equinix is expanding here, it currently leases space from Digital Realty, which outside of the large Infomart carrier hotel, essentially owns the market.

Digital Realty owns over 2 million square feet of space in the DFW Metroplex, including nearly a million that it is developing in the telecom corridor in Richardson.   While GI Partners no longer owns Digital Realty, it does own SoftLayer, which it merged with The Planet, and got into a lease at 4849 Alpha Road, just to the west of Digital Realty's Richardson cluster.  GI Partners portfolio company Telx (which is still in registration), also leases space from Digital Realty at 2323 Bryan Street downtown, which additionally hosts an Equinix facility.

Dallas does not have the financial traders that New York and Chicago do, it does not have media and content providers that LA does, and it does not have the Facebook, Amazon, Google, or Microsoft centers Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia do.   But in addition to being one of the largest mid-continent connection points for telecom providers, it is a hub for web hosters, including Rackspace.

Through Qwest, Rackspace is subleasing 144,000 square feet at 801 Industrial Boulevard near DFW airport, representing about 80% of its entire data center footprint.  Rackspace sublet the space in 2004, when Qwest was pulling back from its late 90s/early 2000s expansion, and is paying just $11.25 per square foot triple net, and that's with the price escalators kicking in from the original sublease agreement.   This deal runs through August 31, 2015, at which point Rackspace will likely be paying at least double, if not quite a bit more, for new space.   The balance of Rackspace's facilities are in DuPont Fabros' Elk Grove Village, IL and Ashburn, VA buildings.

View Dallas Data Centers in a larger map

The Rackspace lease expiration will be interesting to watch, particularly because it is not part of the GI Partners investment family, like Digital Realty, Telx, and SoftLayer are.  

Beyond Rackspace and SoftLayer, Dallas tenants include Horizon Data Centers, Perot Systems, TD Ameritrade, and the FAA, which leases a building in Fort Worth from Digital Realty, in addition to leasing another DLR property in Northern Virginia.   But with a less established base in one industry than places like Northern Virginia or Silicon Valley have, Dallas is still defining itself as a data center market, and could change dramatically as it continues to grow.   

Dallas Data Centers – Major Public Companies Owning/Leasing

Sq Ft Owner Tenants
1950 N Stemmons Freeway Dallas 1,500,000 DCI Tech/Infomart the Dallas version of 111 8th Ave or 350 E. Cermak
8435 N Stemmons Freeway Dallas 21,000 Office Building Telx Leases a Floor for Co-lo
2323 Bryan Street Dallas 457,000 Digital Realty Telx, Equinix (DA4)
2440 Marsh Lane Carrollton 135,000 Digital Realty TD Ameritrade
11830 Webb Chapel Road Farmers Branch 365,000 Digital Realty Perot Systems
14901 FAA Boulevard Fort Worth 263,000 Digital Realty FAA
904 Quality Way Richardson 47,000 Digital Realty Under Development
905 Security Row Richardson 250,000 Digital Realty Under Development
1232 Alma Road Richardson 106,000 Digital Realty Terremark
900 Quality Way Richardson 112,000 Digital Realty Under Development
1400 North Bowser Road Richardson 247,000 Digital Realty Under Development
1301 International Parkway Richardson 20,000 Digital Realty Under Development
4849 Alpha Road Farmers Branch 60,000 Digital Realty SoftLayer (also HQ office)
400 South Akard Street Dallas 36,000 Fed Reserve Downtown Carrier Hotel
4025 Midway Road Farmers Branch 88,000 Digital Realty Horizon
3180 Irving Blvd Dallas 58,000 Level 3 Terremark
801 Industrial Boulevard Grapevine 144,000 ING Clarion Rackspace Primary U.S. Data Center – Sublease from Qwest



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