May 2011

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Back to the Future
High-Tech Renovation - 95,300 Square Foot Customer Support Center
JW Roberts
Founder and President,  
General Datatech, L.P

LEED Gold certification anticipated for 50-year-old facility that originally housed dairy processing plant, now includes Internet-monitored solar array and technology

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In an area of Dallas known more for low-rent industrial warehouses, General Datatech, L.P. (GDT) has created an advanced “working laboratory” for its routing, switching, communications, and security solutions business from the shell of a 50-year-old building. As a result, they have created an “intelligent,” environmentally aware facility that showcases advanced technology, and at the same time has made a long-term investment that will generate jobs in Dallas’ urban core.

“We are excited to take the wraps off what has been a long, complex project, but one which will create new opportunities for our business,” said J.W. Roberts, founder and CEO for GDT. “Ultimately, this building is a physical representation and showplace for everything we do for customers and will enable them to see what is possible through the technology GDT can implement. That we were able to create such a facility out of an old dairy factory and preserve a bit of Dallas history makes it all the more satisfying.”

Located at 999 Metromedia Place, near the intersection of West Mockingbird Lane and I-35, the Customer Support Center is situated on six acres and includes a total of 95,300 square feet of which 65,300 is renovated space and 30,000 is a newly built warehouse and staging facility. The architect and interior designer for the project was Edwin Brantley Smith & Associates, Inc, experts in the design and adaptive reuse of existing buildings. The building is already winning accolades, having been named the recipient of the Stemmons Corridor Business Association’s 2011 Award for Best Adaptive Re-Use of an Existing Building. The building was also named as a finalist for the 2011 Dallas Business Journal’s Best Real Estate Deals - Private Green Deal of the Year.

"The Stemmons Corridor Business Association selected this building because it renovated and transformed a vacant, fifty-year-old food processing and light manufacturing plant into a state-of-the-art high-tech facility," said Robert Todd, past chairman of the Stemmons Corridor Business Association.  "Such reuse of significant older buildings in the Stemmons Corridor contributes to economic revitalization and spurs other such commitments of capital in this important part of Dallas."

GDT is one of the largest Cisco resellers (VARs) in the U.S., delivering customized network services for large, complex, and strategic technology engagements. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the company has grown to approximately 250 employees and will generate more than $200 million in revenue for 2011.

An Intelligent Building
The rapid growth drove the need for a new Customer Support Center that would house in one location the company’s sales, engineering, logistics, and project management staff. While the economics favored moving to a new facility in the suburbs, Roberts felt compelled to remain in Dallas and renovate an existing building, believing that such a project would help preserve history, be more environmentally responsible, and produce a space with character, dimension, and texture. 

The building was originally constructed in 1960 as a processing plant for Foremost Dairies. After the dairy shut down, the building sat empty for a number of years until it was partially renovated for the offices of an advertising firm. The property eventually went to foreclosure and sat empty until GDT purchased it in 2009.  Adding to its history, the building had also been used as a location for several episodes of the television program, Prison Break. 

After an 18 month renovation project that began in August 2009, GDT, with the assistance and support of many partners, has created a truly intelligent building. The starting point is one extremely robust IP network upon which and from which all systems are layered and controlled. The single IP network supports the technologies implemented for customers, including: routing and LAN switching; wireless; virtualized data storage; unified communications capabilities; borderless network security; physical security; digital signage; unified computing platform; and one of the largest implementations in North Texas of Cisco TelePresence, a system that enables people from around the globe to collaborate face-to-face across a “virtual conference table” for a real life experience.

“Our TelePresence system will enhance how we support our customers and in a broader context how people across the world do business.  We are excited to have the technology in our new space,” added Roberts.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] A Green Footprint
Through its intelligent IP network, GDT has also been able to tie in and monitor its mechanical systems, including HVAC, lighting, electricity, and access control. This capability is important because of the green elements designed into their space. 

A core priority for the renovation was to be environmentally conscious, a process that started with the simple decision to renovate and reuse an existing building rather than to tear it down. Next, the company decided to seek LEED Gold certification for the building, a decision that required significant planning and cost. GDT hopes to receive notification of its certification status by the fall of 2011. 

Key environmental elements of the renovation include:

“This building represents a link between many different eras, from manufacturing and rail lines of the 1960s, to the new media and dot-coms of the 1990s, to the information and service-led economy of today,” said Roberts. “More than just an advertisement for our services, we hope that this project is a testimony for the potential of older buildings and the ways in which companies can grow and have a positive impact on the environment.”

About General Datatech, L.P.
Founded in 1996, General Datatech (GDT) is an award-winning, Cisco Gold Value Added Reseller (VAR) providing core routing and switching, unified communications, security, wireless, datacenter, and storage solutions to clients nationwide. As one of the largest Cisco resellers in the U.S, they have built a solid reputation implementing large, complex, and strategic technology engagements. The engineering staff and professional services team have the experience, Cisco certifications, and partnerships to deliver solutions that work. For information, visit



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