Liberty Property Trust, Malvern, Pa., broke ground on a 727,600-square-foot, build-to-suit distribution center at 14803 Woodham Drive in North Houston, Texas, for The Grocers Supply Co., a Houston, Texas-based division of C&S Wholesale Grocers.

Delivery is expected in the second quarter of 2019. As part of the agreement, Liberty sold the tenant 34 acres of land adjacent to the project.

"Grocers Supply is very excited about partnering with Liberty Property Trust on the development of our new Houston distribution center," says Max Henderson, president of Grocers Supply. "This project will consolidate several buildings into one state-of-the-art facility, thereby enhancing our ability to provide efficient and timely distribution throughout the market. This long-term investment demonstrates Grocers Supply's commitment to our highly valued customers as well as growing our business in the years to come."

The 540-foot-deep building with 40-foot-clear height will include 65-foot speed bays, 75 dock doors and parking for 211 trailers and 667 cars. Two pre-engineered metal buildings for maintenance and pallet stripping (24,870 and 20,020 square feet, respectively) are being developed as part of the project.

"Houston continues to grow, and there is a demand for newer, larger industrial buildings," says Hans Brindley, vice president and market leader for Liberty Property Trust. "Tenants that serve the public are under ever-increasing demand for faster delivery, and that need for immediacy, as well as the desire to modernize logistics to keep costs low, are driving many commercial real estate decisions."

"We've climbed from 84% occupancy to 95% occupancy on a signed basis in 18 months," adds Brindley. "As the Houston market has tightened post-Hurricane Harvey, we have been well-positioned to lease mid-to-large spaces to tenants seeking to expand in or enter the market, and we don't see any let-up in demand for the balance of the year."