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HOUSTON-Derma Sciences Inc. is the first tenant to take space at the recently completed, approximately 500,000-square-foot Hardy Distribution Center. Derma Sciences will occupy 52,770 square feet in a three-year lease as it downsizes its current operations.

The company, which manufactures and distributes bandages to wholesalers that sell the product to hospitals, will move into the space at 1517 Greens Rd. in April. The quoted ask is $.38 per square foot net and “we were able to negotiate an attractive deal for the tenant,” says Alexander G. Reilly with local brokerage house Boyd Commercial LLC.

Reilly, who negotiated the deal with Hardy owner ING Real Estate and Exel Inc. tells GlobeSt.com that, with Derma Sciences’ manufacturing plant moving into Mexico, the company didn’t need its current 200,000-square-foot space at 15200 North Freeway in the far north submarket. “The company needed a modern distribution building and a smaller space,” Reilly says. He explains that Derma Sciences searched area-wide for a space to suit its 30-foot clear-height requirement, and acknowledges such product wasn’t readily available. “There were a few other alternatives, one of which did have the 30-foot clear-height,” he adds. “But that got x’d because of location.”

Stream Realty Partner LP co-managing partner Kyle Valentine, who represented New York City-based ING and Exel of Westerville OH says he isn’t surprised Derma Sciences liked the clear height specs and the north-side location of the Hardy Distribution Center. Since the project broke ground about a year ago on 31 acres, it’s attracted a lot of interest, especially in recent weeks. “We expect to sign a handful of leases in the very near future,” Valentine tells GlobeSt.com.

Valentine, who works from Stream Realty’s Houston office, says, however, that the end of 2008 was difficult when it came to getting lease commitments. “We got hit with a couple of storms. A weather-related hurricane and a financial hurricane. It definitely tempered demand in late 2008,” he says.

But what’s been happening recently, he continues, is that company executives that had put off decisions about real estate are now in a position where they have to make those decisions and leases. As a result, “we’re seeing some of that pent-up demand start to come out during this quarter,” Valentine says.

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