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Transwestern’s Ridge Development Enters Houston Industrial Market

Ben Newell will lead Ridge operations in Houston.

Ben Newell will lead Ridge operations in Houston.

HOUSTON – Ridge Development, the industrial development arm of Transwestern Development Co., has entered the Houston market where industrial vacancy is down and rents have increased sharply.

The Port of Houston, which is expected to experience growth as massive chemical plant expansions are completed and the Panama Canal is expanded, offers opportunities for industrial  development. The northwest Houston industrial market remains strong as well.

“We decided to create a full-time presence in Houston to meet pent-up demand for logistics solutions in the dynamic market,” said Jim Martell, president of Ridge Development. “We see a great amount of opportunity at the Port of Houston for Ridge and Transwestern Development.”

Ridge, as the industrial affiliate of Houston-based Transwestern Development has developed, constructed and managed more than $2 billion worth of industrial real estate across the U.S. over the past 20 years, specializing in logistics solutions near seaports, airports and inland ports.

Houston industrial vacancy fell to 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2015, down from 5 percent less than a year ago, Transwestern reported.  Rents have increased sharply over the last year, rising to almost $6.50 per square foot.

Ridge has named Ben Newell as senior vice president of the firm’s southern region. An industrial real estate specialist working in Houston since 2007, Newell will lead local operations of Chicago-based Ridge, effective immediately.

In his new role, Newell will identify development projects in the greater Houston area, as well as value-add acquisition opportunities. He will oversee deals from start to finish by arranging equity and debt participation, securing investment committee approval, hiring contractors, managing project development, leasing space and overseeing the disposition process.

Newell joins Ridge from IDI Gazeley’s Houston office, which he established for the firm in 2009. During his tenure he was responsible for all aspects of industrial development, leasing and acquisitions; completing nearly $40 million in transactions and new developments worth approximately $95 million. Newell is a developer associate with the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), serves on the economic development committee for the Greenspoint District and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2007 from Southern Methodist University.

Since becoming part of Transwestern Development in early 2014, Ridge has been able to capitalize on the in-depth expertise, relationships and market knowledge of the Transwestern family of companies. Ridge is currently developing RidgePort Logistics Center, a master-planned, 2,500-acre, rail-served industrial park located outside of Chicago. The firm also is developing a 1.7 million-square-foot build-to-suit for Michelin within RidgePort.

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