Vertical Bridge has signed an exclusive five-year agreement with the RMR Group to market, manage and master lease telecom sites at more than 1,000 RMR-managed buildings. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The RMR Group, which invests in real estate and manages real estate related businesses, has a portfolio of managed assets that includes hotels, travel centers, healthcare, senior living and office properties.
“With the RMR portfolio, there are lots of good buildings with lots of good spots for telecom equipment,” Jim McCulloch, VP real estate, Vertical Bridge, told AGL’s eDigest. “The more high quality relationships we have and the more high quality sites we control, the better we are going to look to the carriers.”
The way the deal works is that Vertical Bridge becomes a tenant of the building when it leases a rooftop space to a carrier, which then becomes Vertical Bridge’s tenant. The recurring revenue is then shared between the building owner and Vertical Bridge. The agreement with RMR is subject to certain performance goals after five years. Even if the relationship were to end with RMR, Vertical Bridge would remain as a tenant on the buildings until its contract with the carrier ends.
Vertical Bridge now has more than 40,000 assets that it can lease to carriers but does not own. Four months ago, Vertical Bridge entered into an agreement to manage and market wireless deployment sites at 250 medical office buildings owned by Welltower.
Before that, in September 2015, Vertical Bridge signed an exclusive multi-year agreement with Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings for the management and marketing of wireless deployment on its billboards and other out-of-home assets in 45 top U.S. markets, including 1,200 digital billboards.
In addition to owning cell towers, agreements to market, manage and master lease rooftops and billboards gives Vertical more assets that help it to compete with larger tower companies, according to McCulloch.
Rooftops are favorable locations for macrocells and small cells, while billboards are mostly likely to be leased for small cells or for the Internet of Things. In general, these sites help Vertical Bridge serve carriers that want to densify their networks.
“Vertical Bridge still responds to search ring requests from the carriers for macrocell placement, but for small cells or IoT, the carriers are more market driven, and we might present them with 20 sites in a given market,” McCulloch said.
Vertical Bridge’s portfolio now stands at over 45,000 owned and/or managed sites including tower, rooftop, billboard, utility attachments and other site locations across the United States. Expect more to come.