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HOUSTON-Joint venture partners New York City-based ING Real Estate and Exel Inc. of Westerville, OH are under way with construction of a 250,000-sf warehouse as the first phase to Hardy Distribution Center in North Houston. The building will be completed by April.

“We have strong preliminary interest from users in the area right now for the building that’s now going up. Depending on the success there, the developers will consider the second phase,” Kyle Valentine, co-managing partner for Stream Realty Partner LP’s Houston office, tells GlobeSt.com. He says the next building will be a twin and break ground based on market conditions. Hardy Distribution Center is rising on a 31-acre tract at the intersection of Interstate 45 and US Hwy. 59.

The joint venture acquired the land in third quarter 2007. It is in the 290-acre Central Green Business Park, which is three miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport and part of a strong industrial submarket. “This project has unprecedented access to thoroughfares around northern parts of Houston, which is critical as it relates to distribution,” Valentine says.

The project also is adding warehouse space to a submarket with high demand and limited product. Grubb & Ellis Co.’s latest market report the far northern tier’s 24.7-million-sf industrial inventory has a 7.8% vacancy or 1.9 million sf of empty space.

Valentine says Hardy Distribution Center’s first phase can accommodate tenants of 30,000 sf or more. The rental rate isn’t available, but comparable space in the submarket is getting $5.78 per sf, net.

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