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Transwestern Bulks Up Industrial Platform With New Development Venture

JV With Ridge Property Trust Execs Is Latest Sign of Houston Company's Strengthening of Its Development Roots
March 26, 2014
Transwestern Development has partnered with principals of Chicago-based industrial property investors Ridge Property Trust, aiming to expand its warehouse development reach into the U.S. Northeast, Southeast and Pacific Northwest, and even Mexico City.

The Transwestern-Ridge Property arrangement is the latest sign of increased development activity across the the North America warehouse market, where U.S. rent growth, rising demand and lack of new supply are beginning to coax developers back into construction. U.S. industrial absorption reached one of the highest levels on record in the fourth quarter, with warehouse vacancy rates in the largest U.S. markets falling to levels not seen since the early 2000s, according to CoStar analysts.

In January, Transwestern’s corporate office acquired Rosemont, IL-based Epic Realty Partners, a 20-person industrial real estate firm.

And in February, Transwestern named veteran executive Carleton Riser to the newly created position of president of Transwestern Development Co., to lead the firm in "an aggressive operational and geographic expansion" of its industrial, office, multifamily and healthcare development business.

The development company has offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, TX; Atlanta; Denver; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and Southern California. Transwestern said it intends to expand into additional markets on the east and west coasts.

Ridge Development, the joint venture led by Jim Martell and Dennis Rice, principals with Ridge Property Trust, a private REIT, plan to use their logistics experience and expertise to identify opportunities in core markets and major transportation hubs throughout North America.

Ridge will provide all development services for Transwestern, focusing on warehouse, distribution and manufacturing facilities. The venture will also acquire and develop greenfield properties, and redevelop existing buildings and brownfield sites.

The Ridge venture is a significant strengthening of Transwestern’s industrial development platform to "meet the growing demand for bulk warehousing and industrial facilities in key logistics markets with multiple transportation linkages," said Larry P. Heard, CEO of the Transwestern group of companies.

Combined, Transwestern Development and Ridge have been involved in the development, construction and management of more than 138 million square feet of industrial and distribution space in the U.S. and Mexico. Through the venture, Ridge has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and McAllen, Texas, as well as an international office in Monterrey, Mexico.

The joint venture’s expansion plans include entering additional U.S. cities in the Northeast, Southeast and Pacific Northwest and adding an office in Mexico City.

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