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JEFFERSON, GA-Aldi Group will seek local approval to build a giant regional distribution center that will serve its 20 locations throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. The German-based grocer owns 85 acres along Dry Pond Road near Interstate 85 in Jackson County, where it initially plans to build a 482,233-square-foot warehouse that could expand to 780,849 square feet.

“We plan to begin construction as soon as possible,” Martha Swaney, a spokeswoman for Aldi’s US operations, tells GlobeSt.com. She says the building process should take a year and a half following approval of development of regional impact status by Jefferson officials, after which the center would hire at least 75 employees.

Aldi’s plans follow closely behind this month’s announcement by General Mills that it intends to build a 1.5-million-square-foot distribution center along Hightower Road in Walton County. The $42-million project would create 112 jobs and was hailed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Both the Aldi and General Mills projects are among several large industrial requirements throughout the Atlanta market, according to observers. “It’s a much more lively segment of the commercial real estate market than office right now,” notes Tony Wilbert, an Atlanta-based blogger who follows area development trends.

Charlotte, NC-based A.M. King Construction is listed in Aldi’s DRI filing as the Jefferson distribution center’s developer. Aldi has had a presence in the Atlanta market for the past eight years but is rapidly expanding to other Southeastern markets, including 25 planned openings throughout Florida and a 500,000-square-foot distribution center near Interstate 4 in Haines City, FL.

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