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HOUSTON-Hunington Properties of Houston has broken ground on the last available retail tract along Memorial Drive, where the game plan is to build a high-end, 30,000-sf retail center.

“This is the last front row seat on Memorial Drive,” Sandy Aron of Hunington Properties tells GlobeSt.com. “There is no more retail space available.” The 2.3-acre tract is near the Asbury intersection.

Aron says the ribbon will be cut on the center in April 2002. Nearly 75% of the up and coming space already is pre-leased and it’s predicted that it will soon be filled. The tenant roster to date includes Starbucks, The Kolache Factory, Smoothie King, Cingular Wireless, Quiznos, River Oaks Cleaners and Jack’s on Memorial, a high-end steakhouse.

The tract is near Memorial Park, which has four million visitors per year and more than 100,000 vehicles passing by the site, situated between the Galleria to Downtown. The area has a high density of residential developments, boasting an average household income of just under $200,000 per year. “The property is nestled in a pocket with no significant retail properties,” says Aron. Hunington Properties is a retail developer that specializes in developing and selling properties to 1031 exchange buyers.

John Haas, senior vice president of NAI Partners Commercial in Houston represented Aron in the transaction. Haas says he worked on the tract for two years showing it to several prominent developers, but in the end felt Aron presented the right fit for the property. Attorney Ken Kates of Houston acted on behalf of the seller, Memorial Terrace Ltd. Doug Dabbs of Texas American Title Co. and Gary Carr of Chicago Title Co. closed the transaction. Aron received a construction loan for the project from Southwest Securities.

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