Blackstone JV Closes Data Centers Acquisition in Virginia

Corporate Office Properties Trust sold a 90 percent stake in the assets to its six-month-old venture with Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc.

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Corporate Office Properties Trust has sold a 90 percent stake in two single-tenant data center shell properties to its joint venture with Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc. COPT walked away with $77 million in proceeds on the deal, its second transaction with BREIT since the partners established the joint venture in June 2019.

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COPT has released very few details about the two data centers beyond the fact that they encompass a total of approximately 297,200 square feet of warehouse space in Virginia. The limited information may be attributed to the nature of COPT’s business, as the REIT’s portfolio centers on properties in locations that support the U.S. Government and associated contractors predominantly engaged in national security, defense and IT-related activities. COPT plans to utilize proceeds from the transaction to fund its 2.6 million-square-foot development and redevelopment pipeline.

Repeat performance

The two-asset transaction follows the BREIT joint venture’s inaugural transaction in which COPT sold a 90 percent interest in seven single-tenant, data center shell properties totaling 1.2 million square feet to the joint venture for $238.5 million in proceeds. Those funds were directed toward COPT’s development pipeline as well. The collection of active projects has attracted a great deal of attention, as evidenced by the fact that it was 82 percent preleased as of October 9, 2019.

COPT’s six-month-old relationship with BREIT is not the company’s first data center partnership. In 2016, COPT formed a 50-50 joint venture with an affiliate of GI Partners and sold six single-tenant facilities totaling 962,000 square feet to the venture for $104 million. COPT first entered the data center arena in 2003 and began developing data center shells—consisting of the core building and basic power—in 2013 with the launch of a build-to-suit platform for cloud computing government contractors. As of August 2019, COPT’s data center shell portfolio consisted of 26 operational and under-development facilities accounting for 4.7 million square feet.

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