Black Creek Group, a Denver-based real estate investment firm, recently acquired a 351,960-square-foot industrial park in Stafford in Fort Bend County.
It’s far from the last deal Black Creek will make in Houston in 2018.
"I’d do a deal in Houston every day if I could," said Mace McClatchy, senior vice president of the south central U.S. for Black Creek Group’s Dallas office, when asked if the firm was pursuing other opportunities in Houston. "Black Creek is a big fan of Houston. … We have several interesting prospects down there right now."
In late April, Black Creek bought Stafford Grove Industrial Park, a three-building, Class A industrial park that delivered around a year ago. The park was built by Dallas-based Crow Holdings Industrial. The three buildings are at 10633, 10643 and 10653 W. Airport Blvd. and are collectively just over 90 percent leased, McClatchy said.
A lighting company recently inked a lease at the park, McClatchy said. Stream Realty Partners is leasing the property on behalf of Black Creek.
While Dallas has long been regarded as Texas’ major distribution hub, Houston has seen a sharp increase in industrial and distribution activity in recent months. Major logistics and consumer-facing companies, many of which are looking to beef up their e-commerce offerings, have recently broken ground on large distribution projects. Amazon made a major Houston blitz in 2016 and 2017. And two years after leasing 1 million square feet near Port Houston, Ikea inked a deal to buy 160 acres in northeast Houston to expand its distribution footprint.
All that activity has made Houston an attractive market for savvy industrial investors.
"Investors, users — everybody’s trying to buy these buildings," NAI Partners’ Clay Pritchett told the Houston Business Journal recently regarding distribution properties.
From McClatchy’s perspective, Houston will be an attractive industrial investment market for the foreseeable future. The city’s steady population and job growth promises continued interest from consumer goods users, and Port Houston is a strong selling point to investors and developers alike. The city’s lack of zoning is a challenge for developers, though – since industrial properties generate less revenue than, say, an apartment complex or an office building, industrial developers are often outbid on prime plots of land.
Thankfully, Houston’s large geographic footprint means developers can simply build in the city’s outer communities. This is a win-win, as Houston’s growing number of outlying suburbs means those distribution users will have a pool of nearby residents to recruit as warehouse workers.
"As long as you don’t see a mass exodus, it’ll be a very strong and viable industrial market for years to come," McClatchy said.
Information about which firm represented Black Creek Group was not disclosed. HFF’s investment advisory team, led by Managing Director Trent Agnew and Senior Managing Director Rusty Tamlyn along with Analyst Dane Petersen, represented Crow Holdings and its investment partner in the sale.
Black Creek Group has more than $17 billion of investments, per a release from HFF.