BEAR – About a year after opening, the Amazon warehouse facility in Blue Diamond Park off U.S. Route 13 has been sold to investors for $246 million, marking the second-largest commercial real estate sale in the state behind only a larger Amazon facility.
Built by Stoltz Real Estate Partners, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., in 2021, the more than 1.3 million-square-foot warehouse is the first phase of a multi-phase development of the former Greggo & Ferrara borrow pit and former amusement park located on more than 100 acres between Hamburg Road and Federal School Lane in the Bear area.
More than 1,000 people have already been hired to work at the bulk-item fulfillment center known by Amazon as ILG1, which opened just before the end of 2021. The addition of ILG1, as well as the larger MTN1 robotics-assisted fulfillment center, has helped push Amazon to Delaware’s fourth largest employer.
The Stoltz firm sold the Blue Diamond Amazon facility to PR-Stoltz Propco Blue Diamond Lot 1 LLC, an entity that falls under its investor portfolio, on Nov. 22. The $246.75 million sale also resulted in realty transfer tax payments of more than $6.6 million to the state and $3.7 million to New Castle County, according to county land records.
Not unlike Dermody Properties’ record $392 million sale of MTN1 to an Australian investment firm, the sale of ILG1 acts as a recapitalization for Stoltz, which will remain involved with the new ownership LLC, according to county land records.
The sale of ILG1 ranks well behind the 3.8 million-square-foot MTN1, but also significantly higher than the recent sale of the 1 million-square-foot Middletown fulfillment center PHL7 for $118 million. That facility, while similar in size, is also significantly older, having opened a decade ago.
All of the record-breaking sales this year are evidence of the strength of Amazon-leased facilities, even as the e-commerce giant pares down its footprint.
A request for comment to Stoltz on the sale and how it may affect its plans for future development of Blue Diamond Park was not returned Tuesday.
The firm is preparing to embark on future phases of development, reportedly investing more than $162 million to construct five new warehouses over three phases, totaling nearly 2.15 million square feet of space. The largest of the warehouses would total 911,400 square feet with 156 tractor-trailer docks.
It has already invested more than $58.2 million in acquiring the remaining acreage of the site, according to county land records.
The state has also invested $1 million in a Site Readiness grant to improve infrastructure to serve the future site.
During an April hearing on that grant application, State Sen. Nicole Poore voiced concerns about the proliferation of warehousing in the corridor, especially at Blue Diamond Park, which is adjacent to existing neighborhoods, and asked whether any other uses might be possible.
Stoltz’s local legal counsel Shawn Tucker responded that there could be non-distribution usage and noted that WuXi STA looked at the site closely for its future pharmaceutical manufacturing plant before choosing land in Middletown, but noted that the market demand for warehousing was currently quite high. He added that one reason WuXi chose a different site was due to the lack of infrastructure currently on the Blue Diamond site, which the site readiness funds would help address.
“While warehousing and industrial is certainly a permitted use, and our client is seeing a lot of demand for that, pharmaceutical would be fantastic if we could attract another company like [WuXi],” Tucker said.