As industrial real estate vacancy in Solano County reaches historically low levels, a 1.04 million-square-foot speculative project is coming out of the ground in Fairfield.

Panattoni Development Company in the past 30 days started site work for the Gateway80 Business Park project (gateway80businesspark.com) on 52.4 acres at 1 Cordelia Rd. just east of the towering Anheuser-Busch brewery windmills along Interstate 80. The three-warehouse development is the largest of 1.5 million square feet of industrial real estate projects set for construction in Solano this year, and the project is scheduled for completion and occupancy by year-end.

The corridor between the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento is “in desperate need of efficient, modern industrial buildings, such as the ones we will deliver here in Fairfield,” said Tim Schaedler, the Northern California partner for Newport Beach-based Panattoni Development.

The Gateway80 project will have two 430,500-square-foot buildings and one with 178,000 square feet. They all are being built to LEED standards. The warehouses will have 32- to 36-foot clear heights and 54- to 55-foot column spacing. The larger buildings will have 84 dock-high loading positions, and the smaller building 25 dock-high doors. The property will have 202 trailer parking spaces and 533 car spaces. Each building will have a 2,000-amp power supply, skylights and fire-suppression systems.

“This project is going up at the perfect time because we’re running out of product,” said Eric Dakin, senior project manager for Fairfield’s economic development division.

The vacancy rate for warehouse space in Fairfield is 1.5 percent, or 3 percent, when light-industrial and flex space is added, said Dakin, formerly a commercial real estate agent for Colliers International in the city.

North Bay industrial real estate vacancy rates have been declining for several years, while demand is rising from distribution and manufacturing companies in the Bay Area, Sacramento and the Wine Country, according to the Gateway80 development and marketing team.

The industrial vacancy rate countywide declined to 6.1 percent at the end of last year from 17.1 percent at the close of 2010, according to Colliers International.

“We have pockets of land that can be developed, but large projects with space for 1 million square feet, there are only a handful of sites to accommodate that,” Dakin said. “We’re looking at what we can move around to accommodate demand.”

The Gateway80 distribution warehouses underway there are designed to “appeal to a wide range of manufacturing, distribution and other industrial users,” said Matt Bracco, a managing director for JLL. Bracco, Glen Dowling and Chris Neeb of JLL are marketing the property for lease. “This strategic location on I-80 is exceptional and provides users quick and easy access to the entire Bay Area as well as the Central Valley, wine country, Sacramento, Port of Oakland and far beyond.”

Solano County has been garnering the attention of companies and commercial real estate developers for years because it’s within an hour by road of the ports of Benicia, Oakland and Stockton plus three international airports — Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco, according to the Gateway80 team. And Fairfield, in particular, has been active in courting new companies with its two state-of-the-art water and sewer treatment plants.

“We’re playing to our strengths as a food and beverage manufacturing hub,” Dakin said. “We have distribution lanes, water and wastewater processing.”

The food and beverage hub led by Jelly Belly, Calbee Foods, Anheuser-Busch and Guittard is attracting similar companies to Fairfield. Saxco International took much of the large Solano Logistics Center warehouse project finished across Cordelia Road from the Gateway80 site last year. Just Desserts last May expanded to a 75,000-square-foot plant built by Buzz Oates Group of Companies on seven acres at 5000 Fulton Dr. Colliers brokered the lease.

Buzz Oates also broke ground last fall on a 92,568-square-foot production plant at 770 Chadbourne Rd. for Critelli, better known as The Olive Oil Factory. It makes wholesale olive oils and vinegars.

Craft beer maker Heretic Brewery bought the 24,000-square-foot building at 1052 Horizon Dr. it partly occupied and plans to expand into the rest of it. The addition also is set to have an expanded taproom serving food. Nearby, cheesemaker Formaggi Di Ferrante purchased an industrial condominium and plans to expand into organic products, add a tasting room and open a restaurant with a wood-fired oven.

“Our big incentive is how relatively business-friendly our city is,” Dakin said.