DEER PARK, TX-Northwest Houston might be nearing its capacity for prime industrial tracts, but the southeast corridor is igniting with new product. Clay Development & Construction Inc. makes its first foray into the southeastern submarket in mid-January when it breaks ground on a 34-acre business park.

Battleground Business Park will take about two years to build out. It will come out of the ground at the intersection of Texas 225 and Battleground Road in Deer Park. Robert H. Clay, president of the development company, tells that a revitalization is getting under way in the southeast corridor. Some veteran residents are upgrading to new product and others are newcomers, but demand definitely is running high. Existing companies, many in the petrochemical or shipping industries, are seeking new user-owned industrial space, he says.

The Battleground Business Park plan includes a speculative 200,000-sf distribution facility. For now, the balance of the acreage is dedicated to build-to-suits ranging from 15,000 sf to 100,000 sf. Clay’s not saying who is coming, but did confide that a couple build-to-suit projects already are in the works for the new park. Meanwhile, he says interest in the large spec building has been so great that it may not deliver as a speculative building after all.

This year, sale-leasebacks have been outpacing direct sales, according to Clay. To date, four or five such deals were completed in comparison to just one or two out of 14 completed in 2000. “That market has come back,” says Clay.