A Data-Center Operator in a Good Space

 | Jul 10, 2012 | 11:50 AM EDT
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CoreSite Realty (COR) is one of those landlords that have it made. Its tenants never throw loud parties, leave beer cans in the street, skid around the parking lot or forget to water the plants. That's because its tenants are machines.

CoreSite is an owner and operator of technology data centers, and it operates in one of the hottest sectors around. It supports more than 700 commercial customers across 12 data centers in seven major markets, and I bet none of them have a criminal record.

The firm began operations in 2001 as CRG West with two carrier-neutral data centers in California, and it now operates in Boston, Chicago, New York, Denver and Miami. It was originally created to meet the interconnection and data-center needs of customers at One Wilshire in Los Angeles and 55 South Market in San Jose. In fact, One Wilshire is considered the main hub of the Internet for the entire Pacific Rim, supplying the entire West Coast as well as several other parts of the world with connectivity.

After eight years of aggressive growth, the firm went from a data-center operator focused solely on the West Coast to a powerhouse with international reach. It went public in last 2010 and has continued its impressive growth -- shares soared 66% in less than 11 months.

CoreSite has been led by chief executive Thomas Ray since 2001. He brought over a wealth of experience as the managing director of Carlyle Group's real estate funds, as well as the Security Capital Group of companies, which included ProLogis and CarrAmerica.

CoreSite serves carriers, mobile operators, content and cloud providers and media, entertainment and global enterprises. It is full-service in every sense of the term, providing 24-hour support, implementation support managers who are assigned to every new customer move-in and ongoing advice on best practice, vendor contacts and optimization layouts.

The company has several unique differentiators from peers, starting with its ability to serve a full spectrum of market demand from network-based to power to proximity requirements. CoreSite utilizes an in-house leasing team, which helps foster customer relationships and enables executives to stay close to the quickly changing needs and demands of clients.

The Cisco Visual Networking Index forecasts 34% annual growth in global consumer Internet traffic over the next few years, and CoreSite is well positioned to take advantage of the market growth. Its portfolio consists of more than 2 million square feet of space that currently generates about $110 million in annual rent.

The cream of the company's offerings is its Any2 network. It's the nation's second-largest Internet peering exchange, with over 200 participants in California alone. It's a physical network switch that facilitates the exchange of Internet traffic between service providers and content networks, both locally and internationally. It improves client reach and helps to improve network performance and disaster recovery.

The balance sheet is in good shape, and the company currently has $154 million of available capacity on its existing revolving credit facility. The most recent quarter saw funds from operations rise 44% on an 18% increase in revenue from a year ago.

CoreSite is only the third data-center real estate investment trust to go public, taking advantage of not only the high client demand for data centers but also the recent interest from investors in diversifying their real estate investments.

Although the firm has been around for only a decade, it is a leader in a key emerging growth industry. Expect a lot of focus on data-center REITs moving forward, and keep this one on your radar.

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