Water Tower Cell Site Rents And Values

By Nick G. Foster

August 5, 2014

Water Tower Cell Sites Can Demand Higher Rents

Water towers present a unique opportunity for cell phone companies to locate their antennas at a high elevation. Thousands of water towers in the United States have cellular antennas attached to the sides or on top of the water tower. Most water towers are owned by are publicly owned and some are owned by water districts. The cell tower lease is typically held by the local government or with the water district.

Water towers due to their unique land use and high elevation (height) presents an opportunity for the landlord to charge more in cell tower lease rents. One of the reasons is zoning. Typically the cell site applicant when applying for zoning does not have to go through as many hurdles on a water tower compared to constructing on raw land. In some areas you will see water towers with three or more cell phone carriers attached to the tower. Often bringing in over ten thousand dollars a month in rent.

[blockquote cite=”Sam H., President, Cal-Sorrento”]Nick was able to more than double the monthly rent we had previously negotiated for a cell tower on our property…plus a significant signing bonus! There are several aspects to these deals that only someone with a detailed understanding of the market can explain. [/blockquote]

Water Tower Cell Site Leases Can Be Sold

Like most cell tower leases, water tower cell site leases can be sold! Water tower cell site leases can sell in the millions of dollars if the rents are high enough. Typically when a water district is considering selling their cell tower lease portfolio they engage a cell tower lease expert such as Airwave Advisors. We assist the landlord in nailing down a true market valuation of their towers and assist them in their transaction. The difference between engaging and not engaging cell tower lease experts can be critical. In a transaction it can cost a seller up to a million dollars in some cases. The reason being unsolicited offers to purchase cell tower leases will always be below market. When a seller attempts to sell these leases on their own they are as they say “throwing darts in the dark” trying to negotiate a high price. The return on investment is clear, engage experts to assist you when selling cell your tower lease.

Water Tower Cell Sites Rents Higher Than Market

Water towers can typically demand higher cell site rents when compared to a raw land or rooftop cell site deal. This again is due to their high elevation, minimal zoning requirements, and decreased construction costs. While the leverage in negotiations is there we still see hundreds of bad deals being made. Why? The cell tower companies have experts on their side and when landlords negotiate the deals themselves they are simply outmatched. It takes someone who understands the technology, the use, the market, and the unique legal in connection with the use, to truly capitalize on this opportunity.

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  1. Michael Putnam on October 5, 2018 at 8:11 am

    This is a preliminary query, I am the Facility Electronics Technician for a Veterans Affairs Health Care System and we have spotty cell service. We also have a large water tower. Could you send me additional information pertaining to leasing cell tower space and what federal contracts you currently service? Thank you.

    • Nick Foster on October 8, 2018 at 8:52 am

      Hi Michael,

      It sounds like you are trying to find tenants to occupy space on your water tower. If that is the case, please check out our article “Cell Tower Locations” to learn more a bout finding tenants.

      All the best,

      Nick G. Foster

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Nick Foster Airwave Advisors

About Nick G. Foster

Since founding Airwave Advisors® in 2014, Mr. Foster has added value to over 400 clients ranging from the State of Nevada, City of Beverly Hills, to Habitat For Humanity. Mr. Foster focuses on cell tower lease renewals, buyouts, new lease negotiation, and cell site lease management. Prior to starting Airwave Advisors® Mr. Foster founded and led the Cell Site Services Group within nationwide commercial real estate services leader Cassidy Turley (now known as Cushman & Wakefield).