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ATLANTA-The local industrial market posted more than 641,000 square feet of negative overall absorption through the first half of this year, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Roughly 4.1 million square feet was leased through the second quarter, with the majority of activity focused on consolidations and renewals as companies fine-tune their supply chains.

Even though the midpoint of 2009 appears bleak, industrial deals are getting done in and around Atlanta heading into the third quarter. Duke Realty Corp. signed Los Angeles-based Ta Chen International to a 104,000-square-foot full building lease at its Pinebrook business park. Ta Chen, a distributor of stainless steel and other metal products, will take over 2660 Pinemeadow Court later this month, backfilling space vacated in February by a prior tenant.

“We’re fortunate to add such a quality tenant in the faced of a difficult economic environment,” says Chris Brown, senior vice president of Duke Realty’s Atlanta operations. He notes that the transition was almost seamless because the landlord was able to quickly meet Ta Chen’s requirements.

Duke Realty also leased 73,400 square feet at its Horizon Business Center in northeast Atlanta to Fischbein LLC, which is relocating one of its flexible materials manufacturing facilities from Cleveland this summer. The move will initially create 40 jobs in Gwinnett County.

Meanwhile, CB Richard Ellis says it represented Hilldrup Moving and Storage in a five-year lease of 121,240 square feet at 1950 North Norcross Tucker Road. Hilldrup is moving from its current 40,000-square-foot location in Stone Mountain.

Cushman & Wakefield reports that overall industrial vacancy in the Atlanta metropolitan area increased slightly to 9.6% at midyear, well below the local peak of 14.6% five years ago. Direct asking rents have remained stable through the first half of 2009, averaging $4 per square foot.

Developers have completed 309,680 square feet of new inventory so far this year, including 200,000 square feet built on a speculative basis, Cushman & Wakefield says. Development activity has slowed considerably across the metro area, with only 182,160 square feet under construction at midyear, including a 60,000-square-foot build-to-suit project.

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