Record-Setting Houston Industrial Project Gets Underway

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Hunt Southwest Real Estate Development is building the 1 million-square-foot project to meet the requirements of large e-commerce users.

Cedar Port Trade Center. Image courtesy of Hunt Southwest Real Estate Development

Hunt Southwest Real Estate Development is going vertical with construction on what reportedly is the largest speculative industrial building ever developed in the Greater Houston area.

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Cedar Port Trade Center is at the intersection of FM 1405 and Borusan Road in Chambers County, in the multi-modal TGS Cedar Port Industrial Park, and will total about 1 million square feet. The project’s dollar value has not been disclosed.

The facility will feature 40-foot clear height, LED warehouse lighting, an ESFR sprinkler system and extensive parking for cars and trailers. Twenty-five acres of adjacent land allows for the later expansion of the building to 1.3 million square feet or the addition of vehicle/trailer parking and outside storage.

As of now, the slab has been fully poured and the steel structure is being erected, Hunt Southwest President Preston Herold told Commercial Property Executive. He added that the developer will be “tilting panels by the end of the month,” en route to a March 2021 delivery.

Powers Brown Architecture is the project’s architect and E.E. Reed Construction L.P. its general contractor. Jason Dillee and Nathan Wynne of CBRE are the building’s leasing agents.

Nation’s largest rail- and barge-served industrial park

TGS Cedar Port Industrial Park offers access to Grand Parkway (Highway 99), I-10, State Highways 225 and 146, and the Port of Houston’s Bayport and Barbours Cut container terminals, as well as barge terminals. It also has service from the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads and can store 4,000 railcars.

Cedar Port Trade Center. Image courtesy of Hunt Southwest Real Estate Development

The park is the nation’s largest master-planned, rail- and barge-served industrial park. Operated by Trans-Global Solutions, it totals about 15,000 acres in Chambers County. It currently has more than 14 million square feet of warehouse space either existing or under construction, with occupants including Home Depot, Ikea and Walmart.

COVID-19 has accelerated the shift from bricks-and-mortar retail sales to e-commerce and fulfillment, Herold said in a prepared statement. He added that the large e-commerce users are actively signing leases in this environment and yet the capital markets and spec development community have not adapted quickly enough to meet their requirements.

Construction vs. absorption

In connection with another slice of its business, in July of last year Hunt Southwest (with FCL Builders) completed a 300,000-square-foot cold storage property near Fort Worth, Texas.

Big as it is, Cedar Port Trade Center is just a modest part of the Houston area industrial market’s growth, according to a second-quarter report from JLL. The metro has seen 14 million square feet of deliveries so far this year, on an inventory of 451.8 million square feet. Unfortunately, JLL notes, net absorption has slowed to only 3.8 million square feet this year, contributing to an increase in the market’s average vacancy, to 8.8 percent as of the second quarter.

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