HOUSTON-A single-digit vacancy in the northwest submarket has prompted McShane Corp. and MetLife Real Estate Investments to start a 253,838-sf spec distribution center. Estimated at $12 million to $14 million, the Guhn Road project will be completed by the end of the year.

Joseph Llamas, senior development manager with Chicago-based McShane Corp., says the increasing demand for larger industrial buildings has played a role in the decision to build on 14 acres at Guhn and Northcourt roads near US Hwy. 290 and Beltway 8. “Houston’s market right now is well-occupied. Absorption has been extremely high due in part to tremendous activity in the energy activity,” he tells GlobeSt.com. Various reports put the submarket’s vacancy for similar product at 2% to 5%.

The land has been laid out with ample trailer storage. “We could have gone for two smaller buildings, but we felt the best use of the land would be for the larger single building with the storage,” Llamas says. “This is fairly unique for the market.” He adds that the project is intended for multi-tenant use, but he wouldn’t mind if one user took over the entire building.

Llamas says the MetLife-McShane partnership is continuing to look for new development opportunities in Houston, particularly in the northwest submarket. But, he adds that there is nothing else in the pipeline at this time.

Cadence McShane Corp.’s Houston office is providing construction services. Munson Kennedy Partnership, also from Houston, designed the project. Kyle Valentine, Justin Robinson and Christopher Money of Stream Realty Partners LP’s Houston office have the leasing assignment.

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