Amazon pays $165M for office campus in year’s priciest OC deal

Greenlaw, Cerberus sold 30-acre property occupied by BofA in Brea

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and 275 Valencia Avenue in Brea (Getty, CoStar)
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and 275 Valencia Avenue in Brea (Getty, CoStar)

Amazon is decidedly a buyer in the commercial real estate market.

The e-commerce behemoth purchased a 30-acre office campus from Irvine-based developer Greenlaw Partners and New York-based Cerberus Capital Management for $165 million, according to the Orange County Business Journal.

Amazon has been pushing to expand rapidly throughout Southern California since the onset of the pandemic, as e-commerce has soared. The company has shifted toward buying real estate rather than leasing facilities in recent months – an apparent change in preference that has been rippling through the industrial market and now has hit the office segment.

The deal comes to about $258 per square foot. That’s a premium of nearly 50% on the $110 million – or $171 per square foot – Greenlaw and Cerberus paid for the property in 2014.

Amazon is evaluating whether to turn the 640,000 square feet of office space in the Orange County city of Brea – situated between two freeways and about equidistant to Los Angeles and the Inland Empire – into a distribution center. The company has not filed any plans yet. A redevelopment could start late next year at the earliest, the Business Journal said.

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Bank of America currently occupies the campus, and has since it was built more than 30 years ago. The bank recently said it would exit the site next summer.

The sale is the priciest office deal this year across Orange County.

It’s also not the first time that Greenlaw and Amazon have worked together. Last month, Greenlaw sold a 290,000-square-foot industrial campus leased to Amazon in the San Fernando Valley for $128 million.

That campus was also once occupied by Bank of America. Greenlaw signed Amazon to a 15-year lease on the property last year, shortly after it bought the campus.

The firm has added 23 distribution hubs throughout the region since the end of 2019, tripling its presence.

[OCBJ] — Isabella Farr