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ATLANTA-Barely a month after Greenwich, CT-based Unilever Home & Personal Care, North America signed a 10-year lease on an expanded one million-sf distribution center in Palmetto, GA, it is expanding the center again by 396,768 sf to 1.4 million sf.

At an estimated $4 per sf rent, the estimated aggregate value of the lease is $58 million, area brokers familiar with the Palmetta market tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. ProLogis didn’t disclose terms of the deal in a prepared statement.

The newest expansion makes the Palmetto facility one of five equally large properties in a network formed by Unilever HPC and ProLogis. Others are in Carlisle, PA; Pontoon Beach, IL; Mesquite, TX, and Rialto, CA.

ProLogis, a distribution specialist, owns and manages all five properties and leases them to the consumer products company. The cost of individual properties was not disclosed, but ProLogis’ investment in the full network, encompassing 4,865,630 sf, is $200 million, the company says in its statement.

Plans for a five-property, nationwide network that consolidates 15 former Unilever HPC distribution centers in the US, began between ProLogis and Unilever in 2000. The objective is to reduce logistics costs and improve speed to market.

Shipment from the Palmetto facility began in June; the Carlisle facility will begin operations in the third quarter of this year, and the full network is expected to be in operation in 2003.

The network will reportedly improve logistics efficiency by 15% and enable Unilever HPC to ship consolidated product orders to customers throughout the United States in one day, the statement says.

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