One of America's best known carrier hotels, the Infomart in Dallas, entered a new phase last week as new owners assumed control of the 1.2 million square foot property. DCI Technology Holdings acquired the Infomart through a foreclosure proceeding after paying $100 million last October to purchase the loan from GMAC. The new ownership team is familiar to many data center veterans from its work selling Exodus properties when the company was known as Venture Asset Group.
The Infomart was built by Trammell Crow in 1980, and was initially envisioned as a hub for computer industry trade shows. The struggling facility found a niche in the early 1990s when it began leasing space to telecom tenants. In recent years the building was owned by Nexcomm Asset Acquisitions, which took out a $115 million loan on the building with GMAC Commercial Mortgages. DCI Technology acquired the loan and declared in Nexcomm in default, according to the Dallas Morning News, but the two companies eventually reached a settlement that cleared the way for DCI to take ownership.
DCI expands a property portfolio that already included more than 400,000 square feet of prime telecom and data center space. DCI specializes in distressed properties, which kept it busy during the telecom bust in 2001-02, when it sold a portfolio of Exodus data centers to help recover funds during that former high-flier's bankruptcy proceeding.
The Infomart is said to be about 75 percent leased. Despite the foreclosure, the building's tenant list includes many of the Dallas area's major providers, including The Planet and Dataside (formerly Collocation Solutions) as well as numerous network service providers.
Beyond that, the Infomart is a distinctive facility, and in many respects an atypical carrier hotel. The building's glass facade was designed to be a replica of the Crystal Palace, built in London in 1851 as part of the first World's Fair. It recently played host to a major disaster recovery exercise by AT&T, illustrating the site's importance in the Internet economy. During the dot-com boom, the facility's owners sought to expand by buying properties in Boston and Los Angeles, but later divested both sites.