HOUSTON-In its first acquisition since opening a Greater Houston office three months ago, Duke Realty Corp. has purchased 42 acres in the northwest submarket from a local partnership. Once completed, the estimated $85-million West Sam Houston Business Park will feature in excess of 700,000 sf of spec and build-to-suit class A office space.

The park will be launched with a 160,000-sf, spec office building on 8.8 acres of the land, which is bounded by US Highway 290, Beltway 8 and Texas 249. The spec project, scheduled to break ground in the third quarter, will deliver in Q1 2007. Jeff Brown and John Cadenhead with Powers Brown Architecture of Houston designed the development. General contractors are still being interviewed.

David Hudson, vice president of leasing and development for the Indianapolis-based Duke Realty, says staking a claim in the northwest submarket is a good investment move, given the demand for quality office space. “Everyone developing in that area has been wildly successful in filling leased space and build-to-suits,” he says.

Hudson tells GlobeSt.com that Duke ran the numbers and determined 95% of the buildings constructed the submarket in the past seven years are now leased. “That sort of solidified the Beltway area in terms of office for me,” he says, adding he’s already fielded several inquiries from tenant and build-to-suit prospects.

But, West Sam Houston Business Park is just the beginning of Duke’s plans for the region. Hudson says there are two 50-acre parcels under contract for future industrial developments. Closing on both parcels is scheduled to take place before the end of summer.

“We like the northwest area because of the growth factors,” Hudson says. “But we’re looking at other areas in the city as well.”

Colliers International Inc.’s senior vice presidents Todd Edmonds and Bill Byrd represented Duke in the land purchase. Locally based National Realty Group Inc. CEO Don Eastveld and vice president Jon Spears represented the local seller, West Development LP.

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