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Ben E. Keith Co. To Break Ground On Fort Bend Distribution Complex

TEXAS (March 15, 2011)—Ben E. Keith Co. will break ground next week on a 450,000-square-foot office and distribution complex in Fort Bend County. The ceremony is set for Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at the construction site at South Gessner Road and Cravens Road in Missouri City.

Planned on 82 acres in the Beltway Crossing Business Park north of U.S. 90A and west of Beltway 8, the facility, which includes a 400,000-square-foot warehouse, will serve southeast Texas and Louisiana and create some 300 jobs when it begins operation in the spring of 2013.

Bob Graf, the city's economic development coordinator, said the center will have a taxable value of about $86 million. The company, meanwhile, benefits from tax incentives, including tax abatement on its new structures over a 10-year period.

The Fort Worth-based company purchased the property in 2007. Its inability to acquire a tract for access to the Union Pacific Railroad just south of the site caused years of delay in the complex's construction, Graf said.

The company is continuing to negotiate with the land owner for the rail connection, he said.

"The center is going to become the largest commercial employer in the city," Graf said. "It has been a catalyst for new commercial development opportunities for that area. Since the company's announcement of the project, there has been close to 500,000 square feet of additional commercial buildings constructed or planned to be constructed."

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