KENDLETON, TX-While north-state rival Dallas gears up to become the first US market to have a single development with two intermodal centers, the Houston market is prepping to get its first intermodal industrial park. Kansas City Southern Railway Co. (KCS) and Chicago-based CenterPoint Properties Inc. formed a joint venture last month to develop an 800-acre intermodal center in Fort Bend County about 30 miles west of Houston.

Though the Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway Co. maintains an intermodal facility on land at the Port of Houston, the $300 million KCS/CenterPoint development would include not only a 164-acre intermodal facility but also 636 acres for private development of up to 7.5 million sf of warehouse and distribution space. KCS acquired the property two years ago in conjunction with its $120 million reconstruction of the former SP Cottonbelt Line between the Texas towns of Rosenberg and Victoria. The rejuvenated line will shorten the KCS route between the US and Mexico by some 70 miles.

Rather than focusing on the Port of Houston, which lies on the opposite side of the congested metropolitan area, the project will rely primarily on KCS’s direct link to Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico’s largest container port. The site is approximately three-fifths of the way between Lazaro Cardenas and the railroad’s home in Kansas City, MO. CenterPoint CEO Michael Mullen tells expanding trade with Mexico is a key factor in the project’s development. Projected tenants include companies importing goods via Lazaro Cardenas as an alternative to the increasingly congested ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. With the rebuilt Rosenberg-Victoria line, the distance between Houston and Lazaro Cardenas is about 200 miles shorter than between Houston and Los Angeles. Other tenants targeted are companies involved in the import and export of goods between the US and Mexico that currently depend on trucks.

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