Crown Castle alternate site review status for my cell tower

by Sam

I have an old AT&T cell tower on our property and we have been negotiating with Crown Castle for quite some time to extend our lease. They say I am playing hard ball with them but all we are really trying to do is to get a reasonable fair tower rent. We feel that our rent is very low but whenever we have given them proposals or counter proposals they say we are way out of line and they aren't making money, hardly breaking even, things like that. They have been trying for over a year to get us to sign the letter agreement and they want us to add a right of refusal clause as well and add several more decades to the lease.

Now the latest thing is that Crown Castle's tower manager says that this tower location has now been flagged for their alternate site review department and they are now exploring options of developing an alternate site because I am apparently too difficult to deal with. There are 3 cell companies on our tower, ATt , Verizon and Sprint. I'm in a pretty residential area and I think they are going to have a hard time moving this tower, but is this a real danger for me losing the tower or are they just bluffing and trying to scare me into accepting their offer?

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Jan 21, 2017
Late rent to landlord
by: Anonymous

After being a cell tower landlord with T Mobile exclusive for 8 years, I was bullied and threatened into signing an inferior lease in the last 6 years with their "partner" company that I shall not mention the name. Now they continue to bully me by not paying the rent on time. It has been late sometimes for more than 20 days! I have been told lie after lie as to why this is happening. They have told me and I know there is no recourse for me to change this pattern. I have been contacted many times by a "partner" company wanting to buy out the lease. They have not made an offer yet that is close to the value of the tower, so I have not accepted. I believe the late rent payments are a tactic to force me to sell. I have learned over the years that this company is the worse sort of bottom feeder in the industry.
All prospective landlords should beware of such companies!

Feb 09, 2015
Alternative Site Review = double secret probation
by: Tower Genius

In two words... Bravo Sierra.

A bit tongue and cheek I know, but here are my observations on Crown's shallow attempt to scare the crap out of landlord's, and get them to agree to things that they probably shouldn't.

For example... When a shopping center owner or real estate developer wants to remodel a shopping center, strip mall or something like that, and they tell Crown, "hey, Crown, ya gotta move your &%$#% &@@& tower..." Crown or companies like SBA or American Tower will start and evaluate to see if they can identify locations on-site or nearby where they can relocate the tower, preferably on the owner's parcel and at the owner's expense, and if they can't agree on a viable location they get their Alternate Site Development / Tower Relocation Team to start looking for alternative feasible cell tower locations.

We have seen examples when a hypothetical company, let's call them "American Tower" decides to find an alternative tower location for an existing multi carrier cell tower, because another hypothetical company, let's call them"Tri-Star" decided to purchase the ATC tower lease. This hypothetical tower acquisition of course made the hypothetical tower company very upset. In a case like this, the American Tower's alternative site review relocation team was tasked to find a few alternate cell tower locations and move the tower to send a message to their friends over at Tri-Star. (This is all fiction of course).

We have also seen companies like Crown Castle utilize a company called Md7 to tell cell tower landlords, that since negotiations were getting a bit too expensive for their tastes, they were now in the "initial stages of alternate site review" , and we have also heard of landlords being in the "advanced stages of alternate site review." Kind of sounds like cancer of the cell tower lease. Md7 is the same company used by AT&T for rent reductions and lease "optimizations" which is the preferred method of lowering landlord rents and increasing profitability for the carrier, without getting their hands dirty.

Food for thought...

Crown paid on average over $400,000 per AT&T tower acquired. It is highly unlikely that they will move the tower. In fact the chances of them moving a tower over a some minor points in negotiation are probably less than 1%. However one thing these companies do very well is to plant the seed of doubt in landlords and sell based on FEAR. Are they going to spend several hundreds of thousands of dollars to decommission and move the tower after they just paid $400K for it? You never know these days, their manager might be a completely irrational nut case with no business sense (you may be shocked at what the "qualifications" are to be a real estate manager at a major wireless carrier or fortune 500 tower management company). And if they go across the street there is no guarantee they will get the tower any cheaper than what they are paying now.

Cost of AT&T to carry an iPhone for voice and data is less than $10/month, the rest is gravy for them. Kind of funny when they are crying poverty, isn't it?

Please call us to discuss specifics.

Tower Genius

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