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HOUSTON-Liberty Property Trust is ready to launch construction on the 10th building in its 290-acre Central Green Business Park. Liberty plans to seek LEED certification for the 159,600-sf spec project, a mix of office and industrial space that’s estimated to cost $7.5 million to $9 million to develop.

The developer, with a lease in hand, will start work in July on the new building for Central Green Business Park, located at the junction of Beltway 8 and Hardy Toll Road. The start was penciled within weeks of McLean Cargo Specialists signing a long-term lease for the 63,600-sf Central Green Building 9 at 16680 Central Green Blvd.

Joe Trinkle, vice president and city manager of Houston for the Malvern, PA-headquartered Liberty Trust, says Building 9 is the first LEED-certified industrial spec building in the area. Building 10, which will be completed by March 2009, will be the company’s second.

“For an industrial spec building, it’s difficult to achieve points necessary for LEED certification without a core office,” Trinkle explains. “What you have to do for speculative is build some office space with equipment, bathrooms with water-saving features and recycled content in the flooring, walls and ceilings.” About one-third of Central Green building 10′s space will be developed as office space, he adds. Quoted lease rates are 50 cents per sf, triple net, with $10 per sf as the tenant-improvement allowance.

Trinkle tells GlobeSt.com that Liberty Property is drawing up plans to develop Central Green buildings 11 and 12, which will complete the business park. Construction will begin on the 200,000-sf building 11 in the fourth quarter while work on the 500,000-sf building 12 will begin in second quarter 2009.

Trinkle explains demand for industrial and flex space in the submarket has made the developers comfortable that the market can absorb more space. According to Transwestern Houston, the far north submarket’s 41-million-sf inventory ending Q1 with a 7.4% vacancy while Grubb & Ellis showed an 8% vacancy in a the 25.3 million sf of properties that it tracks.

Once Central Green Business Park is completed, Trinkle says the plan is to “hold on to it for awhile. This is a definite hold strategy for us.”

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