- 9334 Kai Dr. [HAR]
Weathered to a driftwood finish outside, a secluded 1988 home clad in Cypress wood (and lotsa porches) overlooks Trinity Bay in Beach City, located off FM 2354 in Chambers County. Dark paint colors and stained craftsman-inspired woodwork inside formalize the waterfront property, though its 3 acres — and 400 ft. of bay frontage — are better described as near the water than on it (top). A relisting earlier this month — after a 2-week break over New Year’s — marks the property’s first anniversary on the market. The asking price is $1.15 million, down from the initial ask of $1.3 million a year ago and a couple mid-run reductions.
THE TOP-SECRET REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENTS POSSIBLY COMING TO A LOCATION NEAR YOU So sorry, but we can’t tell you about Project Crawfish, Project Cabot, Project Computer Virus, Project Delta, Project Goldbeam, Project Race Car, or Project Texas H2O. They’re all hush-hush, you know. But Gil Staley of the Woodlands-area Economic Development Partnership says together they “represent 1,568 jobs and $335 million in capital investment” — the kinds of projects states and cities dig up tours, videos, and tax incentives for. Reporter Jennifer Dawson can, however, reveal the company behind the formerly mysterious Project 21, whose previously unidentified planners were snooping around Cedar Crossing in Baytown last year to see if the industrial park might work for an unspecified $200 million facility. Project 21 turned out to be a project of Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, but they ended up building the thing in Memphis instead. [Houston BizBlog; previously on Swamplot]
WALMART BUYS BACK ITS BIGGEST BOXES Walmart’s ridiculously humungous Cedar Crossing distribution center near Baytown now belongs to . . . Walmart. Last month the company bought the facility back from its landlord, Texas’s Permanent School Fund, for $104.5 million, or just $4.5 million more than the government entity paid Walmart for it in 2005. The complex consists of 2 separate 2-million-sq.-ft. buildings — encompassing more floor space than 9 Astrodomes — on a 473-acre tract. Under the 30-year lease for the property the company signed with the school fund after the original leaseback, the facility had been exempt from property taxes. [Houston Business Journal; background; awards] Photo: Force Engineering & Testing
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE 15,000-ACRE BEAST AT CEDAR CROSSING “It’s an industrial park that is about 6.5 miles across (the distance between Allen’s Landing and the Astrodome, or UH and Hobby Airport). It has its own wharves, it’s own freeway (purpose-built for all intents and purposes), is rail-served, and is adjacent to the RWJ Airpark, which has a 5,111-foot runway suitable for general aviation activities. It’s not Hillwood’s Alliance Texas. It’ll never be an air cargo epicenter. But it doesn’t need to be. Wharves and railheads aren’t synergistic with air cargo. It’s truly amazing, in so many respects.” [TheNiche, commenting on Courting the Smiths: We Don’t Care Who You Are, But Please Please Like Us!]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT 4 MILLION SQ. FT. OF WAL-MART DISTRIBUTION LOOKS LIKE “Also, that Wal-Mart facility (which is not in the picture because is just left of the two large buildings) is HUGE. To put it in perspective, it would be like 10 Reliant Centers or George R. Browns to come close and that was phase 1 back when we did the drainage and utility plan. Phase 2 will double the size. Wal-Mart sees Houston as the point of entry of much of it’s goods in the future than Los Angeles. The expansion of the Panama Canal will make the Port of Houston that much more strategic in trade with Asia.” [kjb434, commenting on Courting the Smiths: We Don’t Care Who You Are, But Please Please Like Us!]
What secretive out-of-town company is scouting out a 60-acre tract on the far side of Baytown in the world’s 5th-largest industrial park? The Texas Enterprise Fund and the Greater Houston Partnership likely don’t know either, but both are working hard to get the company to develop its mysterious $200 million facility here, near huge existing Wal-Mart and Home Depot distribution centers.
The HBJ‘s Jennifer Dawson reports that executives from the unknown company have only conducted 6 stealth visits of the property:
Cedar Crossing [Business Park] executives know only that the potential buyer intends to manufacture something large, and that Project 21 is being spearheaded by McCallum Sweeney Consulting, a site-selection company based in Greenville, S.C.
Charles Iupe, general partner of the 15,000-acre industrial park, says he has met with Project 21 executives on several occasions, and they have only given their first names.
During a site visit in February, the incognito executives took a helicopter ride for an aerial view of the location. Before leaving the ground they were required to sign waivers. Each one used “Smith” as a last name.
But surely the brokers must know who these people are . . . ?
CALLING MCCOLLUM PARK’S BLUFF McCollum Park in Beach City, closed since Hurricane Ike, should reopen this summer, after Chambers County officials get a little work done: “The park sits on a bluff overlooking the bay and the edge of that bluff now sits about 20 feet farther back than it did before Ike. Wallace demonstrated that the damaged bluff is actually in worse shape than it looks at a casual glance. ‘Look up under there,’ he said, pointing out the problem. ‘It didn’t break off clean … the waves undercut the bluff. Somebody could stand there close to the edge and think it is safe and then the ground could just drop right out from under them. That’s the main reason we had to close the park,’ [County Commissioner Bill] Wallace said.” [Baytown Sun]
ANOTHER RIVER RUNS THROUGH BAYTOWN Oil spill on the bayou: “The spill spread from an oil storage tank in the Mont Belvieu area, leaking into Smith Gully then on to Cedar Bayou. Mont Belvieu’s Emergency Management Chief Bruce Oliphant said best estimates put the spilled oil at 200 to 300 gallons but said a reason for the leak had not been determined by Tuesday afternoon. ‘We’re not sure why it leaked,’ Oliphant said. ‘We couldn’t see where it was coming from the tank and maybe it was coming from somewhere underground.’” [Baytown Sun]