Seefried pays $26.9M for Amazon project land in Lake Nona, site work starts

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

Atlanta-based developer Seefried Industrial Properties paid $26.9 million on Friday for 130.6 acres south of Orlando International Airport, where site and infrastructure work is underway to build a new Amazon fulfillment center that will be Orlando's tallest and largest warehouse. 

Amazon.com, Inc. formally announced early Monday morning that the new fulfillment center in Lake Nona would create 1,500 full-time jobs, and open in 2018. Seefried is developing the project with an affiliate of USAA Real Estate Company, which also sourced a $45 million loan for the project from Wells Fargo Bank.

The sale price for Tavistock Development Company's land owner affiliate breaks down to roughly $294,246 per net usable acre, based on the parcel's maximum allowable impervious area of 91.42 acres. 

That's in line with what market sources forecasted last week for the deal, and tops this year's industrial land sale high of $284,900 per acre by Duke Realty in late April, when it bought a Municipal Drive site for PODS' new storage warehouse. 

"This pricing is not surprising as Amazon continues to offer same-day delivery options requiring strategic locations around Florida," Robbie McEwan, CCIM and industrial specialist with Marcus & Millichap in Orlando, told GrowthSpotter. "With e-commerce sales up over 148 percent over the last 10 years and Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods, they will continue to pursue omnichannel strategies around Orlando, in addition to this site." 

Each industrial land sale has many variables that factor in to the total value, some more apparent than others. Duke's land was expensive, "but also a superior located site with 100 percent of the (land) usable and no off-site costs," said William "Bo" Bradford, Jr., co-president of Lee & Associates in Orlando.

On straight purchase price, the Voxx International headquarters site in Lake Nona sold by Tavistock in December 2014 drew $337,474 per acre, but that included the value of master stormwater retention ponds and a premium location off S.R. 417.  

Seefried's 130.6-acre site will have only 58.48 acres (45 percent) impervious for the Amazon facility, per its site plan. The other 72-plus acres must still be developed for seven new stormwater ponds and compensating storage area to support what is mostly wetlands.

The total sale price is just $900,000 more than what Tavistock forecasted as the land's value earlier this year on a title insurance form, first reported here on April 3, with Amazon projected as tenant on April 24

Georgia-based subcontractor Plateau Excavation was on site Friday afternoon for Seefried's general contractor The Conlan Company, where staff told GrowthSpotter land clearing and grubbing would ramp up on Monday morning. 

Tavistock helped facilitate the deal with Seefried by entitling the property, and taking the investment lead on widening a 1.5-mile stretch of Boggy Creek Road from two to four lanes, for which work began last week. Part of the projected $14 million road investment will be reimbursed to Tavistock from Orange County via impact fee credits.

"We are bullish on attracting well-respected, global brands like KPMG and Amazon to Lake Nona," said Tavistock president Jim Zboril in a prepared statement. "Lake Nona has positioned itself nationwide as an ideal location, offering a collaborative approach, innovative amenities and infrastructure. We have a strong business development team that is out there every day competing against some of the nation’s top metropolitan markets. Lake Nona’s neo-urban location coupled with our innovative vision creates a compelling backdrop for companies looking for that next great place to call home."

More than 2,500 planned parking spaces at the new Boggy Creek Road fulfillment center have given the impression of a major job creator.

Orange County and Enterprise Florida have not commented on if tax incentives are being sought by Seefried for the project. But Amazon quoted state and local officials in its Monday morning press release, and touted their support in bringing the project to Orlando.

To be located at 12340 Boggy Creek Road just south of the airport, the Amazon building's footprint of 857,470 square feet would house 2.33 million square feet of storage area across a ground floor and two mezzanine levels, to feature Amazon Robotics. 

A height of 51 feet was originally forecast by Seefried on plans in April, but the building's maximum could now be 55 feet, per comments in mid-May by Tavistock's civil engineers at Kimley-Horn to Orange County planning staff. 

That would be taller than any other warehouse in Greater Orlando. There is currently one other building in the market taller than 36 feet; 40 feet is a typical cutoff point because going above it prompts fire code changes, and higher development cost.   

Seefried will own the facility with Amazon on an expected 15-year lease, the Orlando Sentinel reported in early May.

This will be Amazon's 11th distribution center in Florida, following plans for a new 800,000-square-foot facility at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport announced in early June by the company. 

Amazon began increasing its direct footprint in Orlando last year, when in May 2016 the company confirmed its lease of 100,000 square feet of warehouse space near the tourism corridor, which serves its "Prime Now" one- and two-hour delivery service. 

Amazon already has two distribution centers in Central Florida of more than 1 million square feet, in Lakeland and Ruskin. In January, the company announced it would build a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Jacksonville, its second in that market.

Seefried has developed Amazon's fulfillment centers in Ruskin (near Tampa), Nashville and Richmond, and is currently developing another for the company in Salt Lake City, announced on July 5.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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