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Amazon Adds To Acquisition Spree, Paying $165M For Bank Of America Call Center In Orange County

Amazon has purchased a call center at 275 Valencia Ave. in Brea.

A recent top-dollar deal made by Amazon in Southern California further suggests the e-commerce giant now prefers to buy, not lease, properties for its expanding real estate portfolio.

Amazon has shelled out $165M for a roughly 639K SF Brea call center occupied by Bank of America in a deal that closed Oct. 15, according to public records.

Sources told the Orange County Business Journal, which first reported the transaction, that Amazon is looking into building a distribution center on the 30-acre site.

The e-commerce behemoth has turned its attention to purchasing warehouses, development sites and redevelopment opportunities across the country in the last year, showing a notable pivot away from its established pattern of leasing its spaces, Bisnow first reported in October.

Bank of America has been at the property since 1982, but it is slated to leave in July 2022. The bank's lease was originally set to expire in 2023, according to the Orange County Register. A spokesperson for the bank told the Register in October that many of the employees were working remotely, but also said the situation was “all new and happening very fast.”

The sellers of the Brea call center were Greenlaw Partners and Cerebus Capital Management, which purchased the property at 275 Valencia Ave. in 2014 for approximately $110M, according to the Register. Just this month, Greenlaw Partners sold a freshly renovated Simi Valley warehouse to Amazon for $128M.

It’s not the first time that Amazon has purchased a major redevelopment site in Orange County. In October 2020, Amazon bought the Orange County Register printing plant in Santa Ana, paying $63.2M for 16.5 acres at the site. Amazon has already filed plans to raze the printing plant and build a 112.5K SF last-mile facility on the property. 

Amazon has spent upward of $400M on purchases like this since mid-2020 in Orange County alone, by the OC Business Journal’s count. Last month's acquisition marks Amazon's priciest to date in Orange County, topping a purchase in Irvine in 2020, when it paid $112M for 31 acres formerly used by aerospace firm Parker-Haniffin.

Amazon is not the only one seeing industrial opportunity in office buildings. Developers like Goodman, Rexford Industrial Realty and Black Creek Group are snapping up well-located, older office space for their potential as prime last-mile and distribution facilities.