HOUSTON-A Los Angeles-based spice importer has set a plan into motion to shift ports and the processing operation from California to North Houston, buying a 26,800-sf warehouse for about $550,000. Occupancy is penciled for February 2005 due to a four-month leaseback and plans for a retooling.

Kundan Foods Inc., founded in L.A. in 1978, bought 13310 Luthe Rd., about 20 miles from the Houston port, from Walsh Interests Ltd., which is waiting to move its air conditioning business into a build-to-suit near Ritchie Road. The buyer was represented by the NAI Houston team of Travis Land, associate, and John Ferruzzo, principal and industrial division leader, and Chris Klein, vice president for Colliers International in Houston. Jeff Barbles of Marcus & Millichap in Houston steered talks for the seller.

Land tells GlobeSt.com that Kundan Foods is shuttering the L.A. warehouse, but will keep the corporate headquarters intact. The inbound spice manufacturer will create about 30 jobs in Houston, ticketed as a regional office.

Land says Kundan last year bought four acres in Phoenix for a build-to-suit, but abandoned the plan after reworking numbers to reflect increased construction costs. “They did a little more homework and went here,” he explains. Kundan’s owner came to town in April, toured 15 properties and narrowed the field to three. Land says the price and the asset’s location outside the city line sealed a deal that closed with 1031 Exchange money from the Phoenix land sale and a property trade in L.A.

According to Ferruzzo, the sale closed “just south” of the $550,000 ask, delivering a 1.8-acre property with a concrete parking area to the rear and room to expand. About $75,000 will go into the building’s renovation, he says.

Kundan Foods, which occupies a 22,000-sf warehouse in L.A., imports, selects, grinds, blends and packages spices and flours for distribution to grocery stores. The firm also supplies more than 1,200 Indian and Pakistani food products.

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