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ATLANTA-In one of the largest industrial contracts this year in Georgia, the federal National Archives and Records Administration has selected Highwoods Properties Inc. of Raleigh, NC to build a 350,000-sf warehouse that will have 1.75 million cubic feet for text storage and 35,000 sf for training and conference rooms, a public research room and office space to accommodate NARA staffers, contractors, visitors and patrons.

The site is at SouthPark in Clayton County, about 20 miles south of Downtown. This will be NARA’s second storage facility in Clayton County serving the Southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, and various government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service.

The value of the build-to-suit contract wasn’t disclosed in a prepared statement from Highwoods. But metro area industrial brokers and construction estimators tell GlobeSt.com the high-tech complex will probably have a hard construction cost of about $100 per sf or a total $35 million.

NARA will lease the structure from Highwoods for 20 years at an undisclosed rent. Area brokers tell GlobeSt.com the average effective rent over the 20-year period will probably be about $10 per sf. That would give the lease an estimated value of $3.5 million per year or a total $70 million for the 20-year period.

Two of the seven storage bays and the office area are scheduled to be completed and ready for occupancy by July 2004. The remaining five storage bays are scheduled to be delivered one bay per quarter through October 2005. Ernst and Young represented NARA in the bidding process.

Highwoods executive vice president and chief operating officer Ed Fritsch credits the company’s local division, headed by senior vice president Gene Anderson, for winning the contract.

“They did an outstanding job of working through the complex technical and operational contract specifications and demonstrating to NARA that Highwoods was clearly an excellent choice for this very sizable project,” Fritsch says.

NARA regional administrator Jim McSweeney says Highwoods was picked “because of their solid development and project management experience and capabilities, their commitment to the Atlanta region and a strong focus on customer service that will serve us well over the next two decades.”

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