Warehouses for Amazon, Walmart and Target sell in a $2-billion deal
A portfolio of large-scale shipping centers where e-commerce powerhouses Amazon, Walmart and Target assemble and ship boxes of goods for customers has sold for $2 billion in a deal that underscores the rapid growth of online shopping during the pandemic.
Among the 23 properties are two in the Inland Empire, where many e-commerce companies base their operations serving Los Angeles and other parts of Southern California.
“We see this acquisition as an exceptional way of tapping into the rapid acceleration of e-commerce growth — one of the most impactful investment themes post-COVID, and likely of the decade to come,” said Terry Fancher, executive managing director of Stockbridge, a San Francisco real estate investment management firm.
Stockbridge bought the 14.3-million-square-foot portfolio of Class A logistics facilities across the U.S. in a joint venture with the National Pension Service of Korea in Seoul, one of the largest pension funds in the world with about $672 billion in assets.
China has pulled back from buying U.S. real estate in recent years, but South Korean investors, including pension funds and life insurance companies, have picked up the baton during the COVID-19 pandemic, snapping up warehouses and other commercial buildings with long-term tenants.
The buyers did not identify the properties in the portfolio, but a person who knows about the transaction but is not authorized to speak about it publicly said they include a 2-million-square-foot warehouse complex at Van Buren Boulevard and the 215 Freeway in Riverside that Target is in negotiations to lease and a 1-million-square-foot center leased to Amazon at 1494 S. Waterman Ave. in San Bernardino.
The windy plains at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains, once austere stretches of agricultural land, have morphed into one of the country’s most desirable industrial real estate markets. Vast warehouses — some are bigger than 30 football fields under one roof — are used to store, process and ship merchandise such as clothes, housewares and toys to ever more online shoppers and handle the rising flood of goods passing through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The portfolio sale was the largest transaction by value of industrial properties since the onset of the pandemic, the buyers said. They did not identify the seller, but the person familiar with the deal said it was Hillwood Properties, a Texas company founded by Ross Perot Jr.
The buyers said the portfolio includes recently completed and soon-to-be-completed properties, with the average year of completion 2020. Other properties are in cities including Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Jacksonville, Fla., Memphis, Tenn., and Pittsburgh.