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NOBLESVILLE, IN-Construction is progressing on a new 800,000-sf manufacturing and distribution center for SMC North American Headquarters here, a $45 million project. Japan-based SMC Pneumatics is the parent company, and is moving a current operation in Indianapolis to the new building here at the intersection of 149th Street and Cumberland Road.

The project should be complete by May 2009, says Manish Gandhi with Panattoni Construction Inc., the builder of the project. The building is costing about $31 million to construct, he says. The single-level, pre-cast building features a steel frame, which is going up now, Gandhi says. The company will use the facility to manufacture and distribute products, including more than 520,000 pneumatic components, filters, actuators, valves and automation production equipment, for machine builders and industrial automation providers.

Gandhi tells GlobeSt.com that the northern Indianapolis suburb was able to attract the project with a tax incentive of more than $15 million, which go to pay infrastructure for Panattoni’s development around and including the SMC property. The firm is bringing about 500 employees from its current plant in Indianapolis, and has promised to hire another 275 people for the new North American HQ. “Anytime you bring in more than 700,000 sf and about 800 jobs, you’re going to have a locale that wants to have that company,” he says. “And now, the Indianapolis industrial market is very strong. The first part of this year was bumpy, as so much space was available, but now for the past three months there’s been a phenomenal amount of leasing going on.”

The city is a popular destination for development. Last month, Meritex Enterprises Inc. purchased the 51.8 acres where it plans to build a roughly $30 million office/industrial business park called Noblesville Business Center. The park is in the 3,600-acre Noblesville Corporate Campus.

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