Wilmington office buildings’ Internet certification could bring boost to downtown


Two office buildings in Wilmington have achieved a “best-in-class” level of Internet and technology infrastructure, a commercial real estate designation that city officials and real estate companies hope will give a boost to business downtown.

The two buildings which total 1 million square feet in rental office space are located at 1201 N. Market St. and 1313 N. Market St, the Hercules building.

They were given a platinum certification by WiredScore, the highest designation for the company which scores buildings’ Internet infrastructure for potential tenants.

High quality Internet connections are a crucial part of a building’s infrastructure for companies looking for office space. Financial institutions or law offices, for example, need to be able to efficiently share data, send files and make transactions across the country and globe.

The 1201 N. Market St. building is 85 percent occupied, while the Hercules building is 70 percent occupied, said Scott Johnson of building owner McConnell Johnson Real Estate.

About 1,700 buildings worldwide have received WiredScore certifications. Johnson said only about 120 boast the highest platinum status.

The infrastructure certification came thanks to state and private efforts to expand fiber optic cables, which provide higher bandwidth and the ability to transmit data over longer distances than traditional cables.

A state grant coupled with private investment helped fiber companies build more than 250 miles of cables throughout Delaware since 2013.

One of the downtown buildings that got the certification is the site of a connection hub that links the fiber cables in Delaware to thousands of miles of cables in the mid-Atlantic region and the rest of the U.S.

At a news conference, Mayor Mike Purzycki praised the certification and said it “put us on the map in another way.”

Real estate brokers say downtown Wilmington is becoming more attractive to businesses, but the city has struggled with downtown vacancies, often competing with commercial areas in the suburbs. The recent sale of two Bank of America buildings has left a visible chunk of office space downtown empty.

Rick Kingery, a real estate broker with Colliers International, said the fiber optics cables expansion has made Wilmington’s Internet connectivity strong overall. The WiredScore certification, he said, helps owners market their office space as comparable to one in, say, Manhattan.

“What you’re seeing at 1201 is just a landlord actually getting a certification to show how strong the speeds are,” he said. “It further broadcasts something that real estate professionals already knew.”

Johnson said the certification allows downtown Wilmington to compete for companies when it otherwise may have been overlooked.

“If we didn’t have this infrastructure we wouldn’t see anybody” interested, Johnson said. “It allows us to play in the game. Everybody depends on running data.”

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