(Read more on the industrial market.)

[IMGCAP(1)]HOUSTON-The local owners of the 640-acre Greens Port Industrial Park are mulling over a plan to add more spec space next year. The existing three million sf of water-, rail- and freeway-supported space has only 40,000 sf left to fill.

B. Kelley Parker III and John F. Littman, who lease the 1755 Federal Rd. park for Greensport/Ship Channel Partners LP, tell GlobeSt.com that the last spec building–175,000 sf that delivered earlier this year–is being claimed by a single tenant, who’s now putting the finishing touches to its lease. Meanwhile, a 47,975-sf deal has just been inked by Zurich-based ABB Inc., which grabbed the space for its off-shore operations before it could hit the market, the brokers disclosed. “We have one 40,000-sf building left,” Parker says.

Greens Port Industrial Park is the largest private multi-modal park on the Gulf Coast, with water and rail access and all crane-served space. It’s also the largest steel importing facility on the Houston ship channel.

[IMGCAP(2)]The local partnership acquired the park in April 2004, getting a 60% occupancy, short-term leases and 100 acres of developable land for another one million sf, according to Parker. The past three years have been spent on replacing short-term leases with long-term deals and raising the occupancy level. Parker credits the team’s success to the Greater Houston market’s vibrant economy and the park’s foothold on the deep-water channel with the Port of Houston right next door.

Littman also points out that “there’s just very little crane-served manufacturing space in Houston.” The park’s 20 buildings, all with overhead cranes, were steadily added since the 1950s in footprints from 10,000 sf to 872,000 sf. They are supported by a 1,080-foot ship dock, large concrete staging area, dock capable of supporting three barges and one roll-on/roll-off loading dock. From a rail standpoint, there are three major storage yards for up to 1,000 rail cars and direct access to tracks for Union Pacific, BNSF Railway and the Port Terminal Railroad Authority.

Parker says ABB started to move into its half of a building as soon as it was vacant. “If any space pops up or we decide to do a building is the only time there’s an opportunity out there,” he says. Rates are all across the board. The 175,000-sf spec that’s already reserved was marketed for 36 cents per sf per month, which is at the park’s lower end of the rate scale.

According to Parker, ABB’s broker Mark Nicholas of the Staubach Co. heard about the upcoming vacancy, called and jumped into talks before marketing could begin. “The cranes and the ship channel was why that site was important to them,” Parker says. Staubach’s Richard Quarles partnered with Nicholas and C&W’s Jon Farris teamed with Parker and Littman.

Parker stresses the owners have not yet decided if another spec building will be added. And, of course, the door is always open for build-to-suit deals. “There is the potential for a 200,000-sf, crane-served building, but that will be a decision they will make after the first of the year,” Parker says.

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