- December 29, 2017
LAKELAND — For the second time in the past year, a Phoenix-based real estate investment firm has spent tens of millions of dollars to buy an Amazon.com fulfillment center in the Interstate 4 corridor.
Tratt Properties late last month paid $87.65 million for the e-commerce purveyor's distribution center in Lakeland, at 1760 County Line Road.
Tratt's acquisition follows that of Cole Office & Industrial REIT II Inc. last June of an Amazon fulfillment center in Ruskin. That $103.6 million deal set a record for a single industrial asset sale in the Tampa area.
Both the Lakeland and Ruskin properties had been owned by USAA Real Estate Co., a Texas-based financial services firm with a real estate portfolio that tops $15 billion.
USAA and Johnson Development Associates jointly developed the Lakeland and Ruskin centers beginning in 2013. Each opened the following year and employ roughly 1,000 workers. Combined, the two centers cost about $300 million to develop.
The Lakeland building features a 32-foot clear ceiling height and measures 1.02 million square feet, roughly the same size as Amazon's Ruskin fulfillment center. USAA paid $4.6 million for the Lakeland land four years ago.
As was the case with Cole, Tratt's purchase in Lakeland marks its first Florida acquisition. The company also owns major distribution centers in Phoenix; Roseville, Calif.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Olive Branch, Miss., a suburb of Memphis, Tenn., according to its website.
“I am excited to have Amazon as part of our long-term holdings and look forward to the prospect of growing with the e-commerce world leader,” says Jonathan Tratt, who founded the company in 2000 and is its managing principal.
Tratt's major tenants include Williams-Sonoma, Pepsi Bottling Ventures and FedEx Ground, among others.
In all, the company has developed more than 4 million square feet of industrial space.
“We are focused on delivering flexible and scalable global supply chain real estate solutions that go beyond transportation, warehousing and distribution,” the company's website states.
The Lakeland property marks Tratt's second with Amazon as a tenant. In April 2012, it sold a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center it owned in Phoenix.
CBRE's Chris Riley represented Tratt in negotiations with USAA and the real estate services firm's Val Achtemeier, of its capital markets group, helped Tratt arrange $61 million in financing from Wells Fargo Capital Markets Group.
Tratt on its website notes that it was attracted to the Amazon property because of its “highly desirable” Interstate 4 corridor location.
Investors and logistics firms alike have flocked to Hillsborough and Polk counties to take advantage of the corridor's strategic location and the ability of distributors to connect with 18 million residences within a 24-hour drive.
Since 2014, Amazon, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Rooms-To-Go and Southern Wine & Spirits, among others, have opened or expanded major distribution centers within the Interstate 4 corridor.