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HOUSTON-Universal Forest Products Inc. has opened a South Texas distribution center, signing a seven-year lease for two buildings, totaling 41,000 sf, on 14.4 acres in West Houston. The lumber company had been supplying the area from Austin.

The Grand Rapids, MI-based lumber company leased 18602 Katy Freeway. The company supplies home improvement retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s as well as customers in the manufactured housing industry.

Doug Bates and Darren O’Conor, both in the local office of Dallas-based Henry S. Miller Commercial, represented Universal Forest Products in the lease. Bates tells GlobeSt.com that the team spent a couple months surveying the entire city before finding the Katy Freeway location. Then, the deal took 10 months to close, he says.

Universal Forest Products needed at least 10 acres paved with concrete or asphalt for a storage area, a requirement that wasn’t easy to fulfill. Owner Temple-Inland Forest Products Corp. of Diboll, TX, used the site for a lumber distribution center years ago, but then closed down and started leasing it. The last tenant was recreational vehicle division for a local dealership. The find, though, had 14.4 paved acres in a 30-acre site, which also had a 38,000-sf warehouse and 3,000-sf office building.

Bates won’t release the terms of the lease, but did say the 30-acre site and buildings were marketed at a rent of about $12,000 per month. He says Universal Forest got the property for less because it only signed for 14.4 acres and the buildings. Jane Kress of Stanford Realty Advisors Inc., a subsidiary of Temple-Inland that handles real estate transactions, represented the building owner in the lease negotiations.

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