The lease is both an expansion and relocation for AshleyFurniture, according to Walker Barnett, a senior vice presidentwith Colliers International's local office. He and Gary Mabrayhandle the marketing of Airtex Industrial Center, while JustinBennett represented Panattoni in all lease negotiations. JeffVenghaus and Ryan Fuselier of Jones Lang LaSalle represented AshleyFurniture.

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Barnett tells GlobeSt. that Ashley Furniture will relocate fromthe Sugar Land area and combine warehouse and distribution fortheir southeast Texas stores into the new facility. The companywill also have a retail clearance center in the building's frontagealong Airtex.

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Panattoni kicked off development of the 60-acre AirtexIndustrial Center with the construction of a 486,720-square-foot,Class A industrial facility that was completed in fall 2009. Withthe Ashley Furniture lease, the building is 88% occupied. Othertenants include: Velocity Acquisition I and Ozburn HesseyLogistics.

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The distribution center offers abundant parking for employees,retail customers, and delivery vehicles, as well as 190-foot deeptruck courts to accommodate on-site trailer parking withoutimpacting the operational efficiency of the warehouse dock doors.The quoted lease rate is $4.79 per square foot, triple net.

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"Ashley Furniture felt that it could most effectively distributeto its southeast Texas stores from this location," Barnett says."This building offers Ashley Furniture better logistical efficiencyand easy access to I-45 northbound and southbound. And, it is thebiggest warehouse space in the most central location that wouldactually accommodate a 300,000+ square foot user."

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Along with Ashley Furniture, Sysco, Walgreens, Cardinal Healthand Vistar have selected distribution centers in this area. All ofthem distribute to retail locations around the greater Houston areafrom their northern location.

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Colliers represents future phases of Airtex Industrial Center,which includes an additional 31 acres available for build-to-suitopportunities or land sales. Barnett tells GlobeSt. thatSacramento, Calif.-based Panattoni is reviewing design plans forPhase II of the project.

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"We are considering smaller rear-load high finish flex buildingsalong the Airtex frontage that would range from 25,000 to 50,000square feet and that could accommodate tenants from 5,000 squarefeet and up," Barnett says. "We are also reviewing an additionalcross-dock building that would range from 240,000 to 300,000 squarefeet with plenty of room for trailer storage and flexibility fortenants who require outside storage."

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