08/04/11 3:08pm

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]

07/15/11 5:48pm

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

04/26/10 1:07pm

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!]

04/23/10 12:11pm

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!]

04/23/10 10:20am

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 . . . ?