Greenlaw buys church site for Amazon warehouse

Developer pays $58.5M for 177,000 sf building, 21 acres in San Gabriel Valley

Wilbur Smith and Jeff Bezos with 1211 E. Badillo Street (Getty, Greenlawpartners, CBRE)
Wilbur Smith and Jeff Bezos with 1211 E. Badillo Street (Getty, Greenlawpartners, CBRE)

Developers are getting so desperate for industrial spaces that they are now buying up churches.

Greenlaw Partners bought a former church located on 21 acres in West Covina for $58.45 million, about $2.78 million per acre, property records show. CBRE announced the deal on Thursday, but did not disclose the price.

The Irvine-based developer will convert the site into a warehouse for Amazon under a 12-year lease. The city of West Covina approved the plans in October, provided Greenlaw paid $2.3 million to the city upfront and $300,000 in annual ongoing payments.

Faith Church, which records show previously owned the site, will work with CBRE to look for other sites across Southern California.

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Irvine-based Greenlaw will renovate the existing 177,440-square-foot building at 1211 East Badillo Street, into a new industrial facility, according to CBRE. Before it became a church in the 1990s, the site was used for industrial purposes.

“This is one of the largest sites remaining in Los Angeles County for redevelopment,” said CBRE’s Eric Chen, who worked on the deal with Jason Chao and Steven Saunders, adding it was located in the center of the San Gabriel Valley, a major industrial hub.

The deal came out to less than what other firms have paid for industrial redevelopment sites recently. Earlier this year, an affiliate of Ares Management bought a 95-acre shuttered steel mill in the Inland Empire for $313 million — about $3.37 million per acre.

The new development is another example of Greenlaw’s pivot to industrial development over the last couple of years. One of Greenlaw’s most recent developments was also fully leased to Amazon before it opened and subsequently for $128 million to an entity linked to Jane Terry, records show.

The company has also sold off a number of older, office properties in recent months, including a 30-acre office campus in Brea previously occupied by Bank of America for $165 million. Also in Orange County, the company has put a 350,000-square-foot office tower in Orange it owns with Walton Street Capital on the market.

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