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EMERSON, GA-Raleigh, NC-based Highwoods Properties has acquired 124 acres with plans to begin construction this fall on the $70-million Highwoods River Point. The master-planned business park on US Highway 41 will contain more than one million sf of industrial space.

Plans for the project call for constructing eight buildings ranging from 150,000 sf to 200,000 sf. The architect on the project is Atlanta-based Fowler Design Associates. The first building to be constructed, which is expected to be completed in summer 2008, will contain 160,000 sf. Highwoods plans to seek build-to-suit commitments, but the project will include speculative buildings.

Highwoods Properties director of leasing and marketing John O’Keefe tells GlobeSt.com that marketing efforts for the project have started but no leases have yet been signed. “We have three very good prospects for two buildings,” he says. “There’s a good chance we’ll start construction on two buildings.”

O’Keefe adds that he anticipates tenants to be local or regional distribution companies or companies that do light manufacturing or assembly work. “The timing of the start of construction of future buildings will be market-driven,” he notes.

Bilijack Bell and Scott Polinski, of Atlanta-based Wilson, Hull & Neal, represented Highwoods in the acquisition of the land from Pagamine Properties LLC.

The project is located less than two miles from Interstate 75′s Top Mountain Road interchange in an area experiencing residential and retail growth. Bordered by the Etowah River, the property is one of the few remaining level parcels in the northwest Atlanta submarket’s Appalachian foothills. “Due to topographical challenges and high land costs, the area lacks modern industrial properties suitable to corporate America’s distribution and light manufacturing requirements,” O’Keefe says. “With the northwest submarket’s pent-up demand and rent growth, the new development’s economics are outstanding.”

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