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ATLANTA-Georgia Crown Distributing Co., Columbus, GA-based family-founded and operated beverage bottling and distribution business, is moving to Henry County, a little closer to its top rival, locally based Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. Columbus is 100 miles south of Downtown.

To encourage the relocation, Henry County officials agreed to waive $56,712 in estimated development fees on the 40.8-acre tract west of McDonough. The Leebern family has operated Georgia Crown since 1938.

Already under construction is a $12.5-million complex encompassing a 29,307-sf headquarters office building, a 414,534-sf distribution warehouse and a 21,684-sf maintenance facility. Some of Georgia Crown’s operations, however, will remain in Columbus, city officials confirm for GlobeSt.com.

The company has 12 wholesale operations and 1,600 employees in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. One of Georgia’s largest private companies, the bottler posted 2002 sales of $730 million. The firm’s bottled-water brand is Melwood Springs.

The new headquarters site is in the Westridge Business Park, west of McDonough and Interstate 75. Just south of the location is a proposed two-million-sf mall project planned by locally based Cousins Properties Inc., Simon Property Group of Indianapolis and North American Properties of Cincinnati.

Georgia Crown bought the 40.8-acre tract in March from Westridge Partners III of Stockbridge, GA for $2.2 million, or about $53,922 per acre ($1.24 per sf), according to county real estate records. The office component is being built for $4 million, the warehouse for $9.5 million, and the maintenance building for $1.2 million. John W. Rooker & Associates of Tucker, GA is the general contractor.

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