American Tower Corp. has decided to see how well colocation facilities augment its existing portfolio of wireless infrastructure properties. The real estate investment trust (REIT) has purchased Colo Atl for in excess of $70 million from owner and founder Tim Kiser.
Established in 2001, Colo Atl offers approximately 26,000 square feet of colocation and meet me room/meet me area interconnection space on two floors of a carrier hotel located at 55 Marietta Street downtown (see "Colo Atl dark fiber strand count exceeds 6000" and “Colo Atl expands downtown Atlanta colocation facility”). The company offers connectivity to more than 100 networks, says Kiser. The 55 Marietta Street location also houses the Southeast Network Access Point (SNAP) and Georgia Technology Center, which Kiser founded and are part of the deal.
John Ghirardelli, director, U.S. Innovation for American Tower, is now general manager for Colo Atl. “This transaction, completed through our innovation program, will enable American Tower to evaluate the interconnection marketplace directly as a complement to future edge data center proliferation and network resiliency initiatives on the path towards 5G,” Ghirardelli explained. “The combination of a strong existing business, a clear path towards additional growth, and the opportunity to leverage Colo ATL’s unique position in the data center space to learn more about the convergence of network connectivity around 5G was extremely attractive for us.”
In addition to Ghirardelli, Jim Leifer, senior manager of broadcast operations at American Tower, will become site manager of Colo Atl. Kiser and a few members of his staff will stay onboard for at least the next six months to help ensure a smooth transition, with the potential of longer tenures, Kiser says.
American Tower supplies wireless infrastructure worldwide via approximately 171,000 communications sites. About 41,000 of these are in the United States. Kiser says he selected American Tower from among several bidders for Colo Atl. He sees the purchase as a way for American Tower to evaluate colocation as a new vertical for business expansion. He also notes that a facility such as Colo Atl could be advantageous as a means to connect wireless towers into the network core.
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