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DALLAS-Duke-Weeks Realty Corp., based in Indianapolis, is expanding its holdings at Freeport North Industrial Park as ground-breaking plans progress for a 383,449-sf spec building.

The Freeport VII bulk distribution-warehouse building, being positioned on 17.2 acres, will get under way in January 2001, shooting for an August completion. The structure will complement five other Duke-Weeks buildings totaling 1,048,000 sf in the park, of which 344,000 sf is under construction in two structures.

And, there’s plenty of room to grow. Duke-Weeks has just bought an extra 141 acres that can support up to another 2.5-million sf of similar projects, Jeff Turner, Duke-Weeks Dallas Group’s senior vice president, tells GlobeSt.com.

Turner says talks are ongoing with “five or six solid prospects” to lease Freeport VII, which boasts a flex design suited for single or multi-tenant use. The newest undertaking will cost $11 million, based on a per sf cost of $30, says Turner. Aside from its design, the structure’s biggest selling factor is the Triple Freeport exemption recently been approved by the City of Coppell and its independent school district. The exemption means significant savings to large users with high inventory value.

Turner says development of the 141-acre buy from NCH Corp. will begin in first quarter 2001 with another bulk distribution-warehouse building. He estimates the Freeport North Industrial Park will reach full build-out in three years.

Freeport VII will be a cross-dock facility that has been designed by CSO Architects of Indianapolis. The building has 32-clear height ceilings and 56 dock doors plus 400 parking spaces. The general contractor’s award will be made in four to six weeks.

In the past two years, Duke-Weeks has built eight bulk distribution warehouses in the Greater Dallas area, delivering 1.9 million sf. It’s also doing a 394,450-sf build-to-suit for General Motors in Ft. Worth’s Alliance Gateway North Industrial Park.

By year-end 2001, Duke-Weeks plans to integrate an office component into its DFW industrial portfolio, Turner tells GlobeSt.com. He says the Duke-Weeks team is “actively looking” for properties to develop for the upcoming office push. To date, Duke-Weeks’ closest office project in this region has been The Associates’ call center in the Freeport park.

The same qualities that have lured others here–highways and central US location–are what beckons Duke-Weeks to lob such an aggressive development thrust in the metroplex. “I would call Dallas the jewel of all the industrial markets in the US,” says Turner, whose team has added nearly 1.3 million sf with a value of $37 million to $40 million in new developments to the region just this year.

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