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GRAND PRAIRIE, TX-With less than 150,000 sf left to lease in its 6.2-million-sf North Texas portfolio, Duke Realty Corp. is laying the groundwork for a four-building, 854,750-sf industrial project on 43.24 acres near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Jeff Turner, senior vice president of Duke’s Dallas group, says construction will start in the first half of 2003, possibly the first quarter. The acreage was acquired in late June from three property owners. CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s Dave Anderson had two tracts in hand and came up with the third to take the deal to Duke.

Duke’s Brook Bearfoot, development services manager in Dallas, tells GlobeSt.com that the team started looking at the site–the northeast corner of Roy Orr Boulevard and Shady Grove Road, all within the City of Grand Prairie–in late 2001. “Definitely one of the attractions is the fact that there is not a lot out there in close-in sites to the airport,” he says.

The due diligence was lengthy, with considerable emphasis placed on trying to synchronize the plan with the market conditions. That, says Turner, is why construction won’t start right away.

“There’s still a lot out there to lease,” Turner says, mostly from the Indianapolis-based Duke’s competitors. He says the game plan is to “pull the trigger” at a time that will deliver the product in a stronger marketplace. “I will fill up what I’ve got,” he says, “and wait to bring a project on line when the yield and the rate come up.”

The project, which has yet to be named, will be outfitted with a couple big boxes and light distribution buildings. A 500,000-sf, two-building phase one is the plan for now.

The land, costing between $1 per sf and $2 per sf, is situated south and east of Koll Development’s CentrePort, three miles south of the airport and in the northern quadrant of the Great Southwest Industrial Park, where Duke has developed four other projects. The land has access to three major arteries, including a future connection to a fourth primary highway, Texas 161. Equal to the location is the Triple Freeport status from Dallas County and Grand Prairie, a one-up on its neighbors, which Turner says have just a double tax exemption.

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