STAFFORD, TX-Virgo Engineers has signed an agreement to take 65,000 square feet at the 241,800-square-foot Stafford Distribution Center. The space is the ball valve manufacturer’s first plant to operate in the United States.

The company is headquartered in India, with two offices in the Houston area. David Hudson, senior vice president of of property owner Duke Realty says Virgo’s staff will relocate to the new space on 10225 Mula Rd. during Q1 2009. Once it’s up and running the plant will crank out EVS Brand Severe Service Ball Valves.

“They’ll specialize the space a bit. This is their first manufacturing facility in the U.S., and they’re putting in some of their own money to beef up the space,” says Hudson, who heads up Duke’s Houston operations. Hudson declined to discuss the lease consideration, only to say it was around market rent. Market rates for the area range from $4.13 per square foot net to $4.30 per square foot net. The TI allowance was also very low, Hudson added.

Kyle Fox with Staubach Retail in Houston represented Virgo Engineering in their lease. Cory Driskill, Duke’s senior leasing representative in Houston, represented the property owner.

The new lease puts Stafford Distribution Center’s occupancy to 85%. The center, which sits on 13 acres, was shell-complete when it came online in May 2008. Other tenants include Miller Brothers Floors and Redi Carpet, which claimed 92,820 square feet total last spring. Braun Construction Services Inc. also took space in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Braun, headquartered in Alcoa, TN, is a short-term tenant and will likely vacate the premises after repairs from the storm are completed, Hudson says.

He tells that lease-up is ahead of schedule, a somewhat remarkable feat, given the market and the fact the building was in shell condition when they were ready. “Things will probably be slow between now and the end of the first quarter,” Hudson predicts. “The good news is we have the two long-term tenants, the medium-term tenants and the short-term lease. As long as Braun wants to stay, they have the space.”

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