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HOUSTON-First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. and CalSTRS are teaming to develop the 1.3-million-sf InterPort Business Park. The $55-million project, planned for 88 acres at the Port of Houston, is being funded through the FirstCal 1 fund.

According to a release about the development, the industrial park will be located along Texas 146 between the Barbour’s Cut Container Terminal and Bayport Container Terminal, which is scheduled to open in late February. The Chicago-based REIT says development will begin immediately.

Jerry Pientka, First Industrial’s executive vice president of development, says escalating container volume due to rising international trade, a growing population and increased demand for access to Houston’s expanding infrastructure all underwrite the decision to build. “The Houston economy has benefited from above-average job growth, particularly in the distribution sector,” he says in the press release.

Sean P. O’Neill, First Industrial’s senior vice president of investor relations, says the REIT is ramping up investments in port activities to satisfy the growing demand by retailers for different and faster methods of distribution. The InterPort Business Park site, located at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico is a good one because “it reduces the travel time for the ships, which is a great advantage,” O’Neill tells GlobeSt.com.

O’Neill says First Industrial also likes the demographic trends in the state of Texas, which has had an impact on investments both throughout the state. “We’ll be doing more in Houston,” he adds.

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