Amazon purchase of BofA call center raises traffic concerns, Brea mayor says – Daily News

on Nov10
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E-commerce giant Amazon has paid $165 million to buy a north Brea parcel that’s been home to one of the city’s biggest employers for the past 39 years, according to county records and commercial data firm CoStar Group.

Amazon’s intended use for the 31 ½-acre, Bank of America call center hasn’t been announced.

But the Orange County Business Journal, which first reported the buyer is Amazon, said the online e-tailer is exploring the possibility of converting the 637,500-square-foot office campus into yet another distribution center.

Amazon typically doesn’t comment on its development plans.

The Oct. 15 deal is one of at least two dozen leases or land acquisitions that Amazon completed in Southern California since late 2019, a Southern California News Group analysis showed.

The possibility of a new “last-mile” delivery station north of Imperial Highway worried Brea Mayor Steven Vargas, who said he only learned details of the deal on Monday, Nov. 7. Vargas noted the closest freeway onramp to the 57 freeway at Imperial Highway already is impacted by hundreds of trash trucks serving a nearby landfill.

“Now, all of a sudden you add these Amazon trucks, whew, that’s going to impact our neighborhood,” the mayor said. “Without getting those trash trucks off Imperial Highway, our capacity is maxed out. … So I’m concerned about that.”

The deal is Orange County’s fifth-biggest commercial real estate transaction this year — and the biggest for a single office property, CoStar data show.

The BofA call center employs nearly 3,000 workers. A company spokeswoman said they expect to shut the call center down by July 2022, a year before its lease was due to expire.

Bank of America had notified call center employees last spring they intended to have them come back to work as soon as they’re vaccinated, one employee told SCNG. About 800 had returned as of October.

Vargas said a BofA vice president told him six months ago the bank wanted all of its employees to return.

“They’re taking away one of our biggest employers,” Vargas said. “It’s really a detriment to have Amazon come in.”

A line of delivery trucks leaves a new Amazon “last-mile” distribution center in Anaheim. The e-commerce giant tripled the number of “last-mile” delivery stations operating in Southern California since December 2019. It’s latest acquisition — the $165 million purchase of the Bank of America call center in Brea — is Orange County’s fifth-biggest commercial real estate transaction this year. (File photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Jason Killebrew, who assumed duties as Brea’s new Community Development director on Tuesday, Nov. 9, said in an email the property’s M-1 zoning supports a variety of uses, including warehouse and distribution. But any change of use, development project or permit application would require city approval, he said.

At $165 million, the sale of 275 Valencia Ave. amounts to $259 per square foot, according to CoStar. The three-story office building has 212,501 square feet, with the building covering one-sixth of the property’s land area, leaving more than 26 acres of parking lots.

CoStar lists the sellers as Cerberus Real Estate Capital Management LLC and Irvine-based Greenlaw Partners. The partnership paid $110 million for the property in December 2014.

The bank campus handles home loans, insurance, consumer and small-business banking and consumer credit cards. Bank of America has occupied building since it was built in 1982.

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