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HOUSTON-ENGobal Corp. has taken 80,808 square feet for relocation and expansion at the 239,200-square-foot Portwall Distribution Center III in the northeast submarket. Tenant improvements are currently underway, with move-in anticipated late in the first quarter.

Portwall Distribution Center III at 225 Portwall St. is part of the Carson Portwall Distribution Center near the Port of Houston. The Newport Beach, CA-based Carson Cos. bought the completed and leased 191,250-square-foot Portwall Distribution Center I in October 2006.

The company launched construction in April 2008 on Portwall Center II at 221 Portwall St., which measures 162,240 square feet and Portwall Center III. Both were completed in December 2008.

The asking rate is $.36 per square foot for the shell space. Dan Zoch, managing director with Carson Cos.’ Houston office says the ENGlobal lease, negotiated by Robert Bantly and Scott Fikes with Grubb & Ellis Co.’s local office is pretty close to the ask, without the tenant improvements.

As for the remaining space, “there are deals working for the balance of the project,” Zoch tells GlobeSt.com. “Leasing is right on schedule for (Portwall Distribution Centers) II and III.”

So much on schedule, in fact, that Carson Cos. is in the design phases for Portwall Distribution Center IV, which could break ground late Q2. The 150,000-square-foot building will be the final building in the project.

“This center is the only modern distribution facility in the near northeast submarket,” says Zoch, explaining why leasing velocity has been so strong. “Tenants that want 30-foot clear, ESFR systems and want to be on the near east side, it’s their only option. The nearest competing project is 18 miles to the southeast.”

Zoch says Carson Cos. would like to have more assets in the submarket, but acknowledges that space is pretty tight. In the meantime, the company continues to seek out potential acquisitions. Zoch says the company has access to “a number of avenues” when it comes financing and wants to be active in the market.

“Right now, we’re mainly focused on existing products; our MO is to acquire modern distribution buildings with 24-plus clear heights, 120-plus truck courts and in well-located areas,” he says. “But we’ll look at everything.”

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