Cell towers
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Cell towers (by Small potatoes [NY]) Jul 29, 2021 9:21 AM
       Cell towers (by Tony [NJ]) Jul 29, 2021 9:56 AM
       Cell towers (by Richard [MI]) Jul 29, 2021 10:39 AM
       Cell towers (by Lana [IN]) Jul 29, 2021 11:37 AM
       Cell towers (by dino [CA]) Jul 29, 2021 3:54 PM
       Cell towers (by JAC [OH]) Jul 29, 2021 4:28 PM
       Cell towers (by Lana [IN]) Jul 29, 2021 4:38 PM
       Cell towers (by Small potatoes [NY]) Jul 30, 2021 8:51 PM
       Cell towers (by Lana [IN]) Aug 1, 2021 10:01 AM
       Cell towers (by JAC [OH]) Aug 1, 2021 10:09 AM
       Cell towers (by dave [CA]) Aug 1, 2021 1:18 PM
       Cell towers (by Small potatoes [NY]) Aug 1, 2021 2:16 PM
       Cell towers (by dave [CA]) Aug 2, 2021 11:01 AM
       Cell towers (by Small potatoes [NY]) Aug 4, 2021 12:47 AM

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Cell towers (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Jul 29, 2021 9:21 AM

Lana raised an interesting income stream with cell towers,with one on the farm she bought. I know a local ll who owns one but I don't know how it performs. I'd think that it's harder to site new ones and existing call towers do well.

Who here is in this field and can provide their perspective? And what is the resale market? --24.194.xxx.xxx

Cell towers (by Tony [NJ]) Posted on: Jul 29, 2021 9:56 AM

I was once a housing authority board member here in NJ. Here are some facts I recall. Revenues were about 3,000/m. Leases are long term and triple net. Rent began at the start of the lease - not the start / completion of installation or service. Local zoning approvals were difficult due to nimby-ism. But since housing authorities are federally funded, their status was above customary local ordinances - making it easy to not have to succomb to local zoning scrutiny. Some other towers I know of locally were granted approvals to property owners that were politically connected. These towers were typically assessed @ 150k - 200k as improvements for property tax assessments - a bargain for the cel carriers given the revenue they generate. This may not be typical elsewhere as NJ is the most densely populated and one of the most politically corrupt states. --73.215.xxx.xx

Cell towers (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Jul 29, 2021 10:39 AM

Back in 1990 I lived in the Florida Keys and cell towers were coming on strong. I did a short gig doing site location for this.

At that time, if you owned the land and the location was good, you leased it to a company who put up the tower and that company then leased space on the tower to others. As I recall, if you made a good lease you got paid according to how much traffic went through the tower. In a good location, you made way more than a poor/remote location. As I recall, one tower on Key Largo located on a 50x50 piece of land was paying $40,000 per month, at that time. Of course, that was before widespread satellite links, etc.

There are undoubtedly companies that still do this and that trade their stock on the stock exchange. You can participate by buying their stock. OR if you can get a piece of land with an existing tower and get the payments transferred to you it MIGHT be better, but I'd recommend checking carefully because if/as it goes to all satellite relays/5G, etc, you might get lower or no payments. Make sure you have an experienced attorney who specializes in this area check everything. --24.180.xx.xx

Cell towers (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Jul 29, 2021 11:37 AM

I bought the existing cell tower Lease when I bought my farm in 2003. The original Lease started in 1990 and was for 25 years. In 2014, I sent ATT formal notice by certified mail that if we did not have a new Lease by the end of 2015, the current Lease would terminate and they would need to remove. This was to stop a Clause that the Lease would rollover at low rents until a new Lease was negotiated.

In 2014, I had a cell tower evaluation of my site by Steel in the Air. a Texas firm the helps land owners and a very valuable resource. They look for sub-lessors, nearby towers etc. They sent me a 40 page report and gave probable monthly rents that could be negotiated. Then they referred me to a Cell tower attorney in San Francisco to deal with ATT. Do not deal with theses mega corps alone.

By 2015, the Lease(a rotten one) was paying $4000 a year. ATT tries to force you to deal with "Lease Optimization"(actually Lease minimization) firms that try to play nasty. They were MD7 and Black Dot for ATT. MD7 had a peon offer me $4500 a year, so I handed everything over to my attorney and refused to talk with MD7 as the joke was not appreciated.

By mid-December, we had a deal(or so I thought). Rents were now 30K per year with a built in 3% yearly increase, term 15 years, and any sub-lessors on the tower must also negotiate their rents with me.

At the last minute ATT tried to wiggle out and I was required to have a phone conference with their consultant. I researched him on the web before and he was an attorney at their corporate offices in Michigan. His position was "Negotiator for Difficult Landlord Tenant Relationships". He started off trying to force me to accept $1000 per month or not have a Lease continuing payment at 1990 rates. I informed him of 2014s formal certified letter. We had 10 days to complete a Lease or ATT was GONE. It would not roll over at 1990 rates. We fought hardest over liability. ATT wanted me to assume full liability for any tower damage. Ha! I negotiated it to liability only if they could prove malicious intent on my part. The new Lease began Jan 1, 2016. Total consultant and attorney fees $9200.

Since then I get several phone calls a year from MD7 and Blackdot trying to threaten me with removal of tower if I don't lower rents. They pretend to be ATT and even use their stationary(addresses don't match) but they are NOT.

My Lease requires ATT to contact me for any Lease change requests by certified mail, so they can be ignored.

The greatest problem for me was ATT is a whale and I am a very little fish(with teeth). ATT is huge and does not play fair and you need to refuse their dirty tricks. Hubby did not want me to pay the extra 75K at the original auction to get the cell tower, but I did and it was a mighty fine investment now returning over 50% on original cost. --216.23.xxx.xx

Cell towers (by dino [CA]) Posted on: Jul 29, 2021 3:54 PM

Way to go Lana,

Absolutely outstanding. Great to see you play hardball with ATT.

They hoped that you would fold if they were persistent enough and bluffed enough, but you had all the cards and you knew it. They wanted the tower bad and all they could do was bluff. Furthermore, once they knew you would not fold on the price, they thought maybe they could recover something on the liability issue, but you didn't cave. Quite excellent.

Your experience is worth noting for the transactions people on this board might encounter.

As we all probably know, real estate has its share of sleazy types. There are investors that specialize in trying to tie up a property in escrow in order to delay closing for many months or even years. I have found that having sufficient confidence to call their bluff causes then to fold like a wet noodle.

Often times the threat of litigation causes honest people to make concessions they would never have made otherwise. Frequently it's just a bluff from a sleazy investor.

Of course, it's best to avoid dealing with such "investors" in the first place. Sometimes a little background check on a potential buyer or seller is time well spent when done before signing any agreement.


Cell towers (by JAC [OH]) Posted on: Jul 29, 2021 4:28 PM

Most carriers in the US don't own their towers. They own the equipment on it but not the tower. The cost to take down the tower and rebuild it elsewhere would be about 400K not including the ongoing lease. There was almost no chance of them walking away from your terms unless they were deep into planning another tower close by. These types of negotiations will only get more difficult as the tower owners understand their highest cost is the lease. My guess is that difficult negotiations will begin to result in no payment from those tower owners using the cost of litigation as a bargaining chip. --72.49.xxx.xxx

Cell towers (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Jul 29, 2021 4:38 PM

Thanks Dino, it was a real learning experience and I do not look forward to 2030. I highly recommend Steel in the Air as a learning resource. They have a lot of informative articles on their website. They are very good at informing you about the dirty tricks cell companies and Lease buyout firms like Unisom pull. If you try to get a cell tower setup just realize it is not a level playing field. --216.23.xxx.xx

Cell towers (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Jul 30, 2021 8:51 PM

Lana, thanks for the thorough recap of your cell tower journey. I'm surprised you are the only one here with first hand experience. --24.194.xxx.xxx

Cell towers (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Aug 1, 2021 10:01 AM

I really doubt if the lease is the greatest cost. The tower on my land has massive electrical cables climbing up it. Over 20. I suspect the monthly electric bill is at least 10K. --216.23.xxx.xx

Cell towers (by JAC [OH]) Posted on: Aug 1, 2021 10:09 AM

And again those towers are not owned by carriers but the carrier does own the equipment. The carriers are responsible for powering their own equipment so the tower owner would not incur that expense. --72.49.xxx.xxx

Cell towers (by dave [CA]) Posted on: Aug 1, 2021 1:18 PM

in a prior life I was in that business.

the cables running up the tower are not electric, they are RF radio signal going from and to the antenna. at the base of all towers are buildings which contain electric power generators and the rf radio equipment and the landline transfer points if the tower is not microwave in and out.

the more traffic (calls) a tower handles, the more rf (radio)

channels it needs, the more equipment goes into the 'box'.

Carriers (phone companies) pay a formula rent to the tower owner / operator,...which is not the property (land) owner.

the tower owner / operator is the landowner's tenant.

long ago, the carriers were building their own towers and directly leasing the land. rarely today.

there are three major ''tower operators'' who control most of the cell sites in the entire world.

yes, satellite cell systems will increase, but the terrestial (earth) based network will remain and expand as that ''last mile'' will always need to be connected and to route that end to end connection completely thru the heavens

just ain't cost effective,....probably never will be. --172.250.xx.xxx

Cell towers (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Aug 1, 2021 2:16 PM

Dave what's your take on how a landowner can successfully negotiate w the tower owner/ operator? Sounds like the landowner gets short changed and squeezed by the big corps. --24.194.xxx.xxx

Cell towers (by dave [CA]) Posted on: Aug 2, 2021 11:01 AM


you really can't.

you can hire a specialty lawyer or broker type person. will it be worth what you'll pay. Probably.

these days, there are so many cell sites already up and operating, even in difficult line of sight areas like so ca,

that the engineering targeting of your property,....""would be a good location,...at a price""", keep in mind that if your land becomes too expensive,...there's the guy next door and they'll just work the engineering around you. Or they'll just beef up the existing surrounding sites.

keep in mind, the specialists you hire know the engineering and can accurately appraise the value of your dirt to the tower operator. You'll also be granting an access easement,...which you may not want to get involved in. !! --172.250.xx.xxx

Cell towers (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Aug 4, 2021 12:47 AM

Thanks Dave, I hadn't thought about the easement. I was thinking from the perspective of buying into an existing situation. --24.194.xxx.xxx

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