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HENRY COUNTRY, GA-Panattoni Development Corp. has broken ground on a $50-million, 1.5-million-sf build-to-suit distribution center for Whirlpool Corp. on 91 acres at 1350 SR Highway 42. The project is expected to be completed in June 2009.

The tilt construction building will also include 12,000 sf of office. The project will feature 32-foot clear height ceilings, 50-foot by 60-foot staging bays, 146 dry dock capacity with six drive-in docks, multiple 4000 amp services and ESFR sprinkler system.

A little over a year ago, Benton Harbor, MI-based Whirlpool Corp. hired Panattoni Development Corp. to build 8.5 million sf of industrial in seven cities under a plan called Project Zenith, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. The plan included two 750,000-sf buildings in Dallas/Fort Worth.

The project is one of the most significant in recent months in the Atlanta area, according to a Grubb & Ellis Q4 Atlanta industrial market report. Warehouse/distribution space throughout the city is currently experiencing a 12.5% vacancy rate with 783,060 sf of positive absorption experienced during the quarter and 3.8 million sf currently under construction. Average asking rental rates are $3.62 per sf. “Warehouse/distribution leasing activity and vacancy remain steady and no decline is expected as big-box retailers continue to look to Atlanta as their Southeast logistics hub,” the report states.

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