Five Decades and Counting
One Wilshire was built in 1966 as a Class A office building. The thirty-story high-rise quickly became home almost exclusively to law firms. And that’s the way it was until the early 90s, when telecommunications companies began descending on the property. This was due in large part to the fact that, after the telecommunications industry was deregulated in 1984, a heavy concentration of underground cable was installed near Wilshire and Grand.
One Wilshire was also located near SBC Communications/Pacbell’s central switching station. As deregulation became a reality, Pacific Bell banned its competitors from using the stations. So, long-distance carrier MCI mounted its own microwave station on the roof of One Wilshire, which at the time was one of the tallest buildings with good lines of sight in the downtown area. This was the beginning of One Wilshire’s relevance in the telecom industry.
The building underwent major renovations in 1992 that made it an even more attractive telecom facility. It was hardwired and retrofit with backup generators and advanced cooling systems, and its metamorphosis from an office tower to a prominent data center was complete. It did not take long for telecom companies to flock to the site. Within a few short years, One Wilshire was recognized as an industry standard.
Today, its fairly unassuming façade betrays the immense activity that is taking place within. During the past two decades it has become “telecom gold,” and one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the city. Presently, One Wilshire enjoys status as one of the top three telecom centers in the world, and it is a primary terminus for fiber-optic cable routes between Asia and North America.