How WiredScore’s Mark Dowdle Is Fighting Dallas’ Connectivity Gap
Mark Dowdle started working in Dallas in the days of dial-up, when tower PCs soared and the BlackBerry was all the rage among the business elite. As Dowdle’s career as a leasing broker grew over the last two decades, so did the internet: He watched as the office tenants he worked with demanded more of each iteration of internet technology — broadband, ethernet, wireless, cellular, fiber and 5G.
While internet connectivity has been reimagined and reinvented time and again, one thing has remained constant: Owners and developers are always stuck in a bygone era. Dowdle said buildings have increasingly struggled to fulfill their tenants’ desire for connectivity.
“There’s a connectivity gap in Dallas,” said Dowdle, head of the Dallas market at WiredScore. “Tenants’ evolving needs are far outpacing the ability of owners and developers to keep up.”
A Dallas native, Dowdle has seen the DFW Metroplex balloon into one of the nation’s largest office markets. While he started his career in commercial real estate at Marcus & Millichap and Mohr Partners, Dowdle’s work as the senior broker for Boxer Property brought into focus how crucial connectivity is to every office tenant.
“Having been on the landlord side for the last six and a half years, I have seen the frequency of tenant questions about connectivity increase consistently,” Dowdle said. “From single-room office users to 40K SF office users, every company has connectivity requirements that are mission-critical for their business.”
More often than not, though, the buildings Dowdle represented couldn’t respond effectively to the connectivity requests they received. Sometimes a building’s infrastructure was truly outdated. But other times, buildings simply had trouble demonstrating what investments they had made to connectivity.
Inundating potential tenants with every technical specification regarding the upgrades and tests that a building had undergone was overwhelming and confusing, Dowdle said. WiredScore has devised a more elegant solution: a certification and rating system for digital infrastructure in commercial buildings.
“Wired Certification creates transparency for connectivity,” Dowdle said. “We’re making sure that tenants know at a glance what level of connectivity they can expect from a potential building, and also letting buildings easily demonstrate their commitment to connectivity.”
As demand for connectivity grows, investing in connectivity has become a priority for building owners and developers. Dowdle describes this investment as “future-proofing” — ensuring tenants will continue to renew their leases not just next year, but for the decades to come.
“It comes down to one word: proactive,” Dowdle said. “Future-proofing is all about taking a proactive stance to plan for technology that isn't here yet but is imminent. It’s making sure your assets have the capacity to easily adopt new technology when the time comes.”
A proactive mindset has certainly caught on in Texas, where developers including Hines, Gaedeke Group, Hillwood Urban, KBS, VanTrust and Bright Realty have already committed over 21M SF of office space to Wired Certification. These companies believe that demonstrating a commitment to connectivity will give them a leg up in a competitive office market.
Some forward-thinking developers are even working to future-proof their assets before they lay the first brick.
“In terms of new construction, we are seeing more and more developers thoughtfully plan for connectivity infrastructure during the earliest stages of design and development,” Dowdle said. “We call it 'building from the internet up.’”
These designs favor adaptability; as connectivity evolves, future-proofed buildings will replace and add digital infrastructure as needed. Dowdle said the developments he sees now may be the first that can keep pace with tenants’ voracious appetite for the newest, fastest and best in technology.
This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and WiredScore. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.