Old-school telephone companies are wrestling with a dilemma their younger rivals would love to have: what to do with all that real estate.
Buildings accumulated over decades, from windowless and fortresslike switching centers built to handle landline gear to modern warehouses filled with web servers, are up for sale after their telecom owners decided to focus on wireless services.
Some spaces “were purpose-built to be telephone buildings,” said John Vazquez, head of global real estate at Verizon Communications Inc. “They were never intended to be anything else.” In addition to unloading older facilities, Verizon is considering placing its newer data center businesses on the block.
Mr. Vazquez’s department is taking different approaches to the 114 million square feet of office and equipment space it oversees. Older telephone buildings, which often occupy prime real estate in the Northeast, often go to condominium developers. Newer data center buildings designed for computers, not telephones, are being shopped to prospective telecom and private equity investors.