A new tech center under construction at Taylor Yard has signed its first tenant and more deals are in the works.

Broadwing Communications leased a 65,000-square-foot building at the Los Angeles Media Tech Center, a $78 million project with seven buildings that is being developed on the former rail yard north of downtown.

At its peak during the 1950s, Union Pacific employed about 1,000 people at Taylor Yard. The new development by Legacy Partners and AMB Property Corp. aims to replace some of those jobs by targeting tech-related, telecom and media companies as tenants.

Broadwing will bring about eight jobs to the site, while another prospective but as yet unnamed tenant could add 1,000 or more jobs, said Rocky Delgadillo, L.A. deputy mayor for economic development.

"(The Broadwing deal) has sparked significant interest in the site," Delgadillo said.

Austin, Texas-based Broadwing owns one of the world's largest fiber-optic networks and provides voice, data and Internet services. It selected the Taylor Yard property in part because of the train tracks that run behind the buildings.

In a meshing of old industry and new technology, Broadwing has run its fiber-optic cables down the rail lines, said Corey Waite, a senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis, who along with Mark O'Brien represented Broadwing. (Dave Harding and Pete Poulson of CB represented the ownership).

"They saved a lot of money. The fiber is right there," Waite said. The building itself will be used for a switching and Web-hosting facility that is slated to go into use in December.

The 15-year lease is valued at $8.3 million, based on asking rents. Broadwing also plans to spend up to $9 million on tenant improvements and infrastructure.

Legacy and financial partner AMB purchased 50 acres of the former maintenance yard last year. The center's first phase of 398,000 square feet is almost complete. Legacy plans to start the second phase by the end of the year, adding another 350,000 square feet in five buildings.

The buildings are "mid-tech," meaning they are designed for more flexible uses than standard industrial space, with a mezzanine level in front and high-bay space elsewhere.

"We designed product intended to meet the needs of high-tech and entertainment (tenants), and what we've found out is there's a strong demand for that," said Bill Shubin, a partner at Legacy.

On another 40-acre parcel at Taylor Yard, Lennar Partners plans to develop 650,000 square feet of industrial space, a multi-screen movie complex, stores, restaurants and a 1,000-vehicle parking garage. Other recent additions to the site include a Federal Express distribution center, Ralphs supermarket and MetroLink maintenance facility.


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