Leasing roof space-getting started questions

Hello, I have been tasked by the co-op board to investigate leasing our rooftop space for cell phone towers. The basic questions are probably
the same for everyone starting out:

1) How much can you expect in leasing fees, per month?

2) Is are building of particular interest to carriers (it might be, given un-obstructed view
to NJ)? Which carriers would be most interested?

3) How much latitude do we have in negotiating leases?

4) What if we don't like the arrangement, is there a standard termination clause?

5) What if shareholders have fears about radiation? What are the most reliable sources
of information?

6) Is cell phone tower leasing compatible with other roof space uses e.g. deck for residences, use of roof for solar cells, etc?

Thanks for any help or references you can give.


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Jul 19, 2010
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RE: NYC Co-Op Rooftop Lease for Cellular Antennas
by: Tower Genius

Thanks for contacting us about your questions, here are my responses:

1) How much can you expect in leasing fees, per month?

Depends on the carrier and how badly they need the site. Cell site lease rates vary in Lower Manhattan vs. Washington Heights, Bronx, etc. and also on the carrier's construction budget. If you are dealing with Verizon Wireless or AT&T or T-Mobile an average lease rates will be between $2,000 and $2,500 as they are paying less due to the economy. 4G provider Clear (Clearwire) is very aggressive in NYC and they usually pay between $1200 and $2000 but they are only using up 100 square feet of rooftop.

2) Is our building of particular interest to carriers (it might be, given un-obstructed view
 to NJ)? Which carriers would be most interested?

Having an unobstructed view is important but the area may already be covered. There's no way of telling who needs your site but you can submit your site directly to the carriers here.

3) How much latitude do we have in negotiating leases?


There are some parts of the lease that have flexibility and room to negotiate with the carriers, and other parts of the lease are not open to negotiation. The cellular leases for all carriers favor the carrier tenants and not the landlord. However that is something we can help with if your building is ever selected.


4) What if we don't like the arrangement, is there a standard termination clause?

The carriers don't want to be held hostage by a landlord that can terminate them at any time after they have placed a cellular site on your roof costing several hundred thousand dollars. They won't agree to a lease with termination language like that.

5) What if shareholders have fears about radiation? What are the most reliable sources 
of information?

Your car's alternator gives off more RF energy while you are driving it than a cell tower emits at full blast. However the wireless industry has done a very bad PR job educating consumers about RF safety. People actually believe that the bees are dying because cellular antennas. Look, people get cancer all the time from all the junk we eat and breathe in. Statistically some of these folks will live in an apartment which is in the same top floor of a building with cellular antennas. When some moron at the newspaper finds out, they all try to win the Pulizter Prize for exposing the wireless industry.

The bottom line is they are safe. They operate at levels WAY below the standards set by the FCC. You can read about what the FCC says about living near a cell site here.

6) Is cell phone tower leasing compatible with other roof space uses e.g. deck for residences, use of roof for solar cells, etc?


Yes and no. We are regulated far more strictly and pay a lot more per square foot.

Good luck !


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