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AUSTIN, TX-Advancing its $120-million development program, Koll Development Co. and Harbert Management Corp. have begun construction on their second project, Northpointe Trade Center. The three-building plan, estimated at more than $22 million, will add 448,550 sf of spec industrial space to North Austin by March 2009.

The buildings will be positioned on 36.8 acres at 2251 Piccadilly Dr., taking up all but three acres of the JV’s land, according to Randy Touchstone, vice president of the Dallas-based KDC and director of the industrial program. “We could do a build to suit or offer some other option with the site,” he says.

Touchstone says North Austin is an ideal location for the LEED-certified buildings for several reasons. “Land sites that are entitled and ready to go are hard to come by on the north side of town,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “If you look at the activity, it’s mostly on the southeast side of town. We felt this was the right place and the right time for the development.” In addition, he says industrial space in the submarket is rare although the sector overall is healthy in the capital city.

Northpointe’s advantage is frontage along Interstate 35 plus accessibility to Texas 45 and 130. The preleasing push is being handled by Brian Liverman, Scott Flack and Doug Thomas, all with Live Oak Gottesman LLC of Austin. Spring Valley Construction Co. of Dallas is the general contractor for the project, designed by Azimuth Architecture, also from Dallas. Austin-based Garrett-Ihnen is the civil engineer.

Touchstone says KDC and Birmingham, AL-based Harbert Management are seeking other sites nationwide, eyeing locations on both the East and West coasts. Meanwhile, the JV is underway with a 500,000-sf phase one for the 820,000-sf Ellington Trade Center, which is being set on 50 acres near Ellington Field in Houston. Phase two will begin to rise in 2010.

With the current market, Touchstone says opportunities are taking a little more time to develop. “With the difficulty of finding debt, it’s harder to underwrite deals so we’re spending extra time to be sure we find the right piece of land that’ll justify the enterprise,” he explains.

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