Goldman Bets on Warehouses with Virus Spurring Online Shopping

By Noah Buhayar, Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s merchant banking division has struck a deal to invest in warehouses across the U.S. in a bet that e-commerce will accelerate and drive demand for logistics facilities.

The bank is partnering with Dallas-based Dalfen Industrial on a group of 46 “last-mile” industrial facilities, according to a statement Wednesday. The properties — in metro areas including Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix, Houston and Cincinnati — are valued at about $500 million, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing the deal terms.

A Goldman Sachs representative declined to comment.

In these bleak times, warehouses have been a bright spot for commercial real estate investors. Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, Blackstone Group Inc. and Prologis Inc. spent tens of billions of dollars consolidating the industry. Those bets have looked prescient as the pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping, spurring Inc. and other companies to lease more logistics facilities, especially the last-mile centers that are close to where people live.

Warehouses are a “beneficiary of the Covid crisis,” said Sean Dalfen, the company’s president and chief investment officer. “We’re seen as the safe haven.”

While sales of most commercial-property asset classes dropped 70% or more in the second quarter as the virus plunged the economy into turmoil, deals for industrial facilities fell only 50% from a year earlier, data from Real Capital Analytics show.

Dalfen said the portfolio Goldman Sachs is investing in received about 10 bids. It’s 94% occupied and has tenants including Amazon, Frito-Lay and Sherwin Williams, according to the statement.

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