(To read more on the industrial market, click here.)

HOUSTON-Following an exhaustive survey of markets nationwide, Duke Realty Corp. has decided to expand its Texas network, setting up a local office to support development activity in Greater Houston. The firm has leased 2,000 sf in the Galleria submarket.

Until now, deals done throughout the state had been handled by the Indianapolis-based REIT’s Dallas office. Duke hired Property & Portfolio Research Inc., an independent real estate research strategy firm from Boston, to survey national markets for potential expansion. “Unlike other parts of the US, Houston has a strong manufacturing base, a growing port business and strong job growth,” says David Hudson, Duke’s new vice president of development and leasing in Houston office. “Because of that, Houston ended up near the top of the list for expansion.”

Hudson, who came to Duke after a 12-year stint for Trammell Crow Co. in Houston, has a background in tenant representation and industrial property. He says Duke Realty’s 1990 Post Oak Blvd. location puts it within range of some of the larger brokerage firms in the city. “We want a good relationship with those guys,” he says. “They’re a key to our strategy and success.”

Hudson tells GlobeSt.com that the goal is to launch one office project and one industrial development by the end of this year. Along with Hudson, Duke Houston’s Brett Shirley and Julie Moeller already are scoping potential industrial and office investments worth close to $40 million, in the northwest, east and north submarkets.

The Houston native says he came on board with Duke for the chance to work on the development side. “I’d never envisioned working for a REIT,” he acknowledges, “but these guys are dealmakers and developers. I thought this would be a terrific opportunity, given where Houston is.”

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