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HOUSTON-A joint venture, fueled with Dallas-based equity, is jockeying for another eight acres now that the 178,200-sf first phase to the Barbour’s Cut Business Park is under construction and fully leased. The additional land acquisition is expected to close in 30 days.

In recent weeks, Granite Properties of Dallas and Houston-based Verde Development Group signed Gulf Winds International Inc. to a 10-year lease for the East Barbours Cut Boulevard building in East Houston, Scott Martin, Granite’s managing partner in Houston, tells GlobeSt.com. The Houston-based logistics firm, which leases 750,000 sf at four warehouses around town, took all that’s available in the Granite project to shore up a plan to improve turnaround time, increase operational efficiencies and reduce operating costs from a location close to the Barbour’s Cut Terminal.

“The Port of Houston is operating at more than 120% of capacity and it’s only going to increase,” says Steve Stewart, Gulf Winds’ president. “Gulf Winds has moved aggressively to lease all of the space available in Barbour’s Cut Business Park Phase I, even though it isn’t built yet.” Aron Grenader of locally based Houston First Properties represented Gulf Winds.

The $8-million first phase, rising on 8.2 acres, delivers in October. It will feature 20-foot clear heights, 58 dock-high and three recessed loading docks, ESFR fire suppression system and two 15-ton cranes. The second phase, which will break ground before the year ends, will be a similar design, according to Martin.

Martin won’t say who’s selling the second tract, but the first was bought from Frank Kubiak, a Houston land speculator. While awaiting the land closing, Granite’s already talking to prospective tenants for the project-in-waiting. Martin hopes to close the land purchase in the next 30 days.

Granite Properties is providing the capital for the project and Verde Development is in charge of development and construction. According to Martin, Granite was looking to crack the East Houston submarket and Verde was a good partner to assist in the entrance.

“At present, approximately 60% of all container traffic in the Gulf of Mexico moves through Houston’s port,” Martin said in a press release. “Shipping companies require a place near the ships where they can both strip and pack-for-export their containers.”

Because Barbour’s Cut Business Park is directly across the street from the port’s facility, tenants will be able to move shipping containers with ease to and from the project’s warehouses. Martin says the JV already has the special permit required for crossing the street with containers.

Thus far this year, Granite has spent about $20 million on property acquisitions from a $100-million fund. Martin said Granite spent about $70 million last year, of which $50 million went to Houston purchases.

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