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Datatech to add jobs and space in corporate move

Post by Bill Hethcock of Dallas Business Journal
Data communications equipment provider General Datatech LP plans to add about 30 jobs in the next year and move into a 100,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in January after buying a building this month.
The acquisition of 999 Metro Media Place in Dallas ends an almost two-year search for General Datatech, which is consolidating from about 55,000 square feet spread over two locations in Dallas and one in Irving, CEO J.W. Roberts said.
The company’s current headquarters is at 3160 Commonwealth Drive in Dallas.
The steadily growing company has about 170 employees and plans to reach 200 employees in the next six to 12 months, Roberts said. The new positions will be primarily tech jobs but may include a handful of sales and accounting positions, he said.
“General Datatech has been on a 13-year growth path. We’ve grown every year, including the downturn in 2001 and 2002,” Roberts said. “This downturn is no different. We’re putting on the gas.”
General Datatech partners with companies such as Cisco to provide data and voice communications products and services, Roberts said. One of the top technologies that General Datatech works on with Cisco is TelePresence, which uses videoconferencing to link rooms in different cities so they resemble a single conference room, allowing people at different locations to interact and collaborate.The new building will allow General Datatech to showcase Telepresence and other products and services, Roberts said.
General Datatech purchased the two-story, 70,000-square-foot building on Metro Media Place on June 1, and will add 30,000 square feet in an expansion set to kick off in about three weeks, Roberts said. The building sits on 6 acres, providing the potential for further expansion.
Dallas-based architecture firm Edwin Brantley Smith & Associates Inc. designed the renovations, and a general contractor will be selected soon, Roberts said.
Roberts and others involved in the deal declined to release the building’s sales price or the specific amount that will be spent to expand and remodel. Roberts characterized the addition as a “multimillion-dollar expansion,” and the Dallas County Appraisal District values the building, constructed in 1960, at $1.14 million.
The addition will provide storage and house the company’s 20-person light-manufacturing division, Roberts said. Existing space will be renovated throughout, a gym will be added, and an existing indoor basketball court and 60-person theater will be preserved and improved.
Roberts bought the property because General Datatech had outgrown its existing facilities. He said the downturn in real estate prices sweetened the deal.
The building is an ideal fit for General Datatech, which searched a long time for the right place at the right price, said David Cooke, vice president with Stream Realty Partners LP’s Dallas office, who represented General Datatech. Senior Vice President Greg Cannon and Vice President Ward Richmond with Transwestern’s Dallas office represented seller Metromedia Investments LLC of Corona, Calif.
“General Datatech was looking to purchase because they just wanted complete control (of their real estate),” Cooke said. “This was an opportunity to bring everyone together.”
It’s a good time for growing companies to upgrade into their own building, said Pete Richardson, senior vice president at Henry S. Miller Brokerage LLC, a commercial real estate firm not connected with the deal.
“Interest rates are obviously at record low, and owners are more motivated to sell now than they were 24 months ago,” he said.
However, lease rates are also falling fast, as landlords get more aggressive to attract tenants, he said.