The first phase of flooring magnate Bob Shaw's 2.4-million-square-foot carpet mill in Carbondale, Ga., will come to life in June, completing the initial step toward construction of what Shaw says could one day be the largest carpet plant in the world, and one of the largest single manufacturing buildings of any type under the sun.

Boeing's airplane assembly plant in Everett, WA, generally acknowledged as the largest factory in the world, measures 4.3 million square feet.

Engineered Floors' first 800,000 square feet of carpet manufacturing space will grow the company to 2,000 employees, a workforce that could eventually double to 4,000 employees when the $450 million carpet plant is fully complete in 2016, the carpet pioneer said.

The approaching milestone at the third, and by far the largest of Engineered Floors' new plants, caps five years of explosive growth. The privately-held firm has grown into a fierce competitor in the high-stakes flooring market from what began as an idea he had during his short-lived retirement.

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