Amazon has a new landlord in Chesterfield.
Cole Real Estate Investments, an Arizona-based REIT that has been on a Richmond buying spree in recent months, added another 1 million square feet to its bag with the July 31 acquisition of the Amazon fulfillment center in Chesterfield County.
A Cole affiliate paid $81.3 million for the 99-acre property at Meadowville Technology Park, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings and county records.
This is the third eight-figure deal Cole has made in the Richmond market in about 10 months. The company scooped up Chesterfield’s Hancock Village in May for $27.5 million and Eastern Henrico’s Shops at White Oak Village in October for $68 million.
The REIT declined to comment on the Amazon property, beyond its SEC filing dated Aug. 6. Cole also reported the purchase of a second 1 million-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., in the same document. That building went for about $69 million.
Cole bought the properties from affiliates of the real estate arm of USAA, according to the SEC filing. USAA also owns the massive Amazon fulfillment center near Petersburg in Dinwiddie Commerce Park.
USAA did not return calls seeking comment.
In recent years, USAA has built distribution centers for Amazon nationwide. At least three have been sold in recent months, as Cole purchased another fulfillment center from USAA in South Carolina this year.
CBRE broker Rob Dirom said companies like Amazon typically seek out developers to build large-scale industrial buildings and agree to sign on for a long-term lease, creating a revenue stream. He speculated that Amazon likely has at least a 10-year lease.
“The lease itself is traded more like a bond,” Dirom said. “The economics of the lease, which would be the length of the term, the rental rate and the credit of the tenant, all sort of drive what this building is worth.”
The Chesterfield fulfillment center opened last year and has more than 1,000 full-time employees, Chesterfield director of economic development Will Davis said. During the holiday season, employment swells to more than 3,000 as Amazon adds temporary positions to handle increased business.
The fulfillment center, which is the size of about 20 football fields, anchors Meadowville, which is also home to a forthcoming $150 million Capital One data center. Davis said Amazon has been a key player in ongoing development at the park.
“Amazon has really helped us marketing-wise – it’s really helped put Meadowville on the map,” he said. “When you used to say ‘Meadowville Technology Park located in Chesterfield, Virginia,’ now you say ‘Meadowville’ and people know what it is.”
The $85 million fulfillment center opened last winter. Almost a year later, Davis said Amazon’s total capital investment has topped nine figures.