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NYC's Telecom 'Nerve Center'
60 Hudson Street adds meet-me room to handle continuing demand

By Rich Miller
CarrierHotels News Staff
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  • Sept. 6, 2001 (NEW YORK) -- From the outside, the former Western Union Building at 60 Hudson Street appears, at first blush, to be a relic of an earlier age.
    With its art-deco facade of multicolored brick, it was built as a monument to a technology that's now virtually extinct.
    But the lifeblood of the New Economy pulses through the building's sturdy infrastructure, with fiber-optic cable packing the risers.

    The carrier hotel at 60 Hudson Street
    Photo by Scott Murphy
    "This is ground zero, the nerve center for international telecom," said Trey Farmer, executive vice president of FiberNet telecom, as he guides a visitor through the routers and switches filling his company's operations center. "This is the most important carrier hotel in the world."
    In the midst of a national glut of telecom space, the former Western Union headquarters provides the ultimate example of the desirability of carrier hotel space in top markets.
    The building is 98.3 percent leased, with the remaining 16,000 square feet available at a listed asking price of $85 a square foot, according to GVA Williams, which manages the building.
    The story is much the same at New York's other high-profile carrier hotel at 111 Eighth Avenue, a 2.6 million square foot facility which is 96 percent leased.
    "At places like 60 Hudson, there's still extremely strong demand for space," said FiberNet's Farmer. "There are still many foreign carriers who don't have space here, and need it."
    That has provided an opportunity for FiberNet, which is partnering with GVA Williams to build and operate a meet-me room on the ground floor of the massive building, which is home to at least 65 telecom companies.
    The 15,000 square foot facility will allow carriers to interconnect their network with any other telecom provider in the building.
    "As part of that process, we're putting in a 72-conduit system that touches every floor and every carrier in the building," said Farmer.
    The meet-me room will also provide a colocation area, allowing carriers who have been shut out of space to have a presence in the building. The facility, which was begun in May, is expected to be completed this fall.
    That's pretty speedy work considering 60 Hudson Street's status as a historic landmark.
    The building has a grand history as a cornerstone in the development of America's communications infrastructure. The Western Union headquarters was designed by architect Ralph Walker, noted for his "distinctive design approach related to the contemporary Art Deco style," according to the New York Landmark Preservation Commission.
    The 943,000 square foot facility was built between 1928-30 at a cost of nearly $45 million - which, adjusted for inflation, is the equivalent of $428 million today. I
    t initially housed 70 million feet of wire and 30 miles of conduit, as well as a library and gym.


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