HOUSTON-A Houston developer has landed Washington Mutual Inc. as a lead tenant to jumpstart construction on 18,000 sf of multi-tenant, shadow retail space for a Kroger Signature store in the northwest corridor.

NewQuest Properties will kick off construction in two weeks on a 1.4-acre tract at 12222 Jones Rd., bought a month ago from the Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. David Meyers, with NewQuest Properties, says WaMu signed a five-year lease for a 3,500-sf end cap to take pre-leasing to 40%.

NewQuest’s Bob Conwell, who’s heading up the development, says the Winchester Town Center expansion has been in the planning stage for several years. The land, backing up to an 80,500-sf grocery store, is all that’s available within the town center for shadow space development.

The average lease will run about 1,200 sf, Conwell says, adding the full lineup should result in a 12-tenant mix. The class A space is tagged at $19 per sf to $21 per sf.

NewQuest’s other committed tenants are mom-and-pop operations–nail salon, mailing service and coffee shop. NewQuest expects to turn over keys Oct. 1 for tenant finish-out, Meyers tells GlobeSt.com.

WaMu’s broker for the negotiations was Lance Gilliam with Moody Rambin Interests in Houston. The Seattle-based WaMu operates about 100 locations in the region.

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