FORT WORTH-With the ink barely dry on the contract, Duke Realty Corp. has broken ground on a 687,500-sf build-to-suit for San Francisco-based Del Monte Foods Co., which handpicked the site in Railhead Industrial Park last year and then set about selecting the builder from a developer-hungry crowd of local and national names.

Jeff Turner, senior vice president in Dallas for the Indianapolis-based Duke, tells that the project cost pushes $20 million. Keys are set to turn Feb. 15, 2005, on a building designed by Gromatsky & Dupree of Dallas and expandable to 903,000 sf.Del Monte’s site is a 47-acre tract with direct dual access to Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific/Southern Pacific–the decision-maker for Del Monte to put it under contract before tossing the build-to-suit opportunity to industrial developers.

“Stuart Smith of Equis (Del Monte’s broker) did a really good job of representing his client with a lot of hungry developers out there,” Turner says. Del Monte has signed a long-term lease, which is all that’s being said about that component to the development.

The Railhead facility inside the Fort Worth boundary will turn out lights on a combined 525,000 sf along West Commerce Street in Dallas and Avenue T in the Grand Prairie section of the Great Southwest Industrial District.

Duke Construction, a two-year-old subsidiary, is the general contractor for a facility rising with 32-foot clear heights and complemented with expanded tractor-trailer parking. Duke side of the deal-making also included Bob Rice, Manish Gandhi and Brian Straley, with Turner out in front.

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