DEER PARK, TX-A Chicago-based chemical products supplier will move in Thursday to a 104,000-sf building that rose as spec in Battleground Distribution Center, a 34-acre development southeast of Houston. Talks began on a 10-year lease just as the shell neared completion.

Delta Chemical Services will use the five-acre project at US Highway 225 and Battleground Road as a distribution point for products coming out of a 100,000-sf blending and processing plant at 334 Tidal Rd., positioned two miles away. Josh LaRocca with Blackstone Partners in Houston says Delta Chemical looked at several sites to lease, but the proximity and delivery time were the deal-makers.

“This facility is the perfect fit for our operations and the timing for its availability could not have been better,” Henry Johnson, Delta Chemical’s vice president, says in a press release.

The just-delivered project is owned by Clay Development & Construction Co. of Houston, with Vantage Cos.’ Houston division as the lead investor and development partner. Stephen H. Jaggard, Vantage’s president, tells GlobeSt.com that the shell was nearly done when talks began with Delta Chemical. The building, estimated to cost $3.5 million, broke ground a year ago as spec product. It was on the market for 34 cents per sf.

It’s been just two years since Clay Development bought 34 acres to develop Battleground Distribution Center. Since then, three buildings have been completed, one is under way and another is set to break ground in a month. The developer has room to build two more, both 22,500-sf designs, and both ticketed to rise as spec.

Jaggard says the two companies eyed development opportunities for several years near the Houston Ship Channel. “I am pleased that a bit of pioneering turned out to be most successful,” he says.

Battleground Distribution Center has fielded top names as tenants for the leased and build-to-suit development. The Dallas-based Dresser Inc. occupies a 73,500-sf building. WW Grainger Inc. of Chicago and International Paint Inc. are planning to light a pair of 22,500-sf structures within three months and Chicago-headquartered Hertz Equipment Rental Corp. will get keys to a 30,000-sf building in nine months.

Robert Clay, vice president of Clay Development, says the next project, a 33,500-sf warehouse, will break ground in a month, of which 10,000 sf has been pre-leased to a Houston firm, AIT. He says leases are averaging 10 years, with rents in the smaller buildings ranging from 40 cents per sf to 50 cents per sf.

The area has proved so successful for the JV that it bought 28 acres right across the street. Clay says the site plan is in the final stages for a 200,000-sf spec warehouse.

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