Logistics company locates in Macon

North Coast Logistics, a warehousing and distribution company, plans to open a 75,000-square-foot center in Macon, officials said.

The Ohio-based company is moving into the new spec building in Ocmulgee East Industrial Park and will begin operations Monday, said marketing manager Mark Kabat. North Coast expects to employ about 10 people at the center and five commercial truck drivers.

The company, a third-party logistics provider, considered Atlanta for its expansion, but officials decided the Macon site off Interstate 16 near Interstate 75 was less congested and allowed the company to offer same-day service to some of the Atlantic’s largest ports.

“We’re very proactive in looking for opportunities for growth,” Kabat said. “From a logistic standpoint, as well, Macon really offered us the go-between for a few markets.”

The company also considered Jacksonville, Fla.

“We felt that for sustainability reasons and growth potential, we really identified Macon as one of the leaders in the near future,” Kabat said. “Our mindset is once we set up camp, we’re looking to stay for quite a while.”

Kabat would not identify the company’s client.

The spec building was built in 2009 after the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority solicited requests for proposals, or RFPs, for a spec building on a 29-acre tract in the park. Rooker, an Atlanta firm, was the lone bidder and built the 100,000-square-foot building on five acres of the tract, with the agreement that it would pay the authority for the land once tenants are found, said Kathy Bowden, the authority’s executive director.The firm will pay market value for the property, which Bowden said is $25,000 an acre.

“The land had been in inventory since the 1980s,” she said. “We didn’t have a spec building. Every industrial authority needs a spec building. Companies want to look at existing buildings.”

Keystone Automotive already had moved into a 22,000-square-foot section of the building. Rooker has been modifying the remainder of the building, which features advanced fluorescent lighting systems, 20 loading docks and a 28-foot ceiling, on a build-to-suit basis to prepare for the new tenant.

“Their crews have been working day and night to really push this facility to get us up and running for Monday,” Kabat said.

In a news release, Industrial Authority Chairman Cliffard Whitby credited “the combination of a quality contractor and a great site” with attracting the new company.

North Coast Logistics joins an “impressive family of logistics facilities” in the area, including as Bass Pro Shops, Kohls, Sara Lee, Academy Sports and others, Mike Dyer, chairman of the Macon Economic Development Commission, said in the release.

“(This) drives home what we have been promoting. Macon and Bibb County is a strategic, cost-effective location for logistics,” Dyer said.

To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.