Mormon Church buys $174M industrial park in Hialeah, the biggest warehouse deal of 2023

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paid $174.3 million for four warehouses at Beacon Logistics Park, pictured above, in Hialeah.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paid $174.3 million for four warehouses at Beacon Logistics Park, pictured above, in Hialeah.

adiaz@miamiherald.com

It was the biggest industrial transaction in Miami-Dade County in 2023. Six warehouses in Hialeah were snagged for $174.3 million, but the buyer wasn’t a major corporation or manufacturer. It was the Mormon Church.

It’s not yet clear what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, plans to do with the massive warehouse space. But the Utah-based LDS church is already one of Florida’s largest private landowners, with holdings that include a sprawling Central Florida ranch and a huge swath of timberland in the Panhandle.

The purchase is an investment play, said Chris Spear, a principal at the brokerage firm ComReal. He said, “The Mormon Church is one of the largest real estate investors in the U.S.”

Property Reserve, an investment branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, purchased the 1.3-million-square-foot site at Beacon Logistics Park from Coral Gables-based Codina Partners.

The sale was confirmed by real estate records, commercial real estate analytic firm CoStar and real estate investment firm Colliers.

The industrial park at 4220 W. 91st Ter., just west of Interstate 75, features six buildings ranging from 129,000 square feet to 232,620 square feet.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paid $174.3 million for warehouses at Beacon Logistics Park in Hialeah at 4120 and 4220 West 91st Place on Friday, January 5, 2024.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paid $174.3 million for warehouses at Beacon Logistics Park in Hialeah at 4120 and 4220 West 91st Place on Friday, January 5, 2024. Al Diaz adiaz@miamiherald.com

While it’s the biggest deal in 2023 for Miami-Dade, it’s not the biggest in South Florida. Real estate private equity firm Longpoint Partners’ $262 million purchase of a Deerfield Beach industrial park in Broward County takes that distinction.

But the LDS church’s purchase still surpasses the $113 million sale of the Bridge Point Cold Logistics Center in Hialeah. The cold storage warehouse was sold to Pontegadea, the same Spanish investment firm run by Amancio Ortega, co-founder of clothing chain Zara.

Though the church’s plans aren’t clear, one commercial real estate expert said the recent transactions show demand remains high for warehouse space in South Florida, given the state’s population boom and growth of online shopping and home deliveries.

Buyers have an “insatiable appetite” for warehouses in South Florida, said Steven Wasserman, international vice president at Colliers. “E-commerce has changed the world. Whether you want to buy a sweater at Macy’s in the store or have it delivered to your house that has changed everything,” Wasserman said. “E-commerce is stronger than ever.”

Codina Partners and representatives of Property Reserve did not respond to multiple interview requests from the Miami Herald.

Mormon Church in Florida

The LDS church is one of Florida’s largest private landowners, owning more than 2 percent of its landmass, according to reporting from The Salt Lake Tribune.

The church has owned Deseret Ranches, a 290,000-acre cattle and citrus farm spanning three counties in Central Florida and located about 50 miles from Orlando International Airport, for over 60 years. Farmland Reserve, Inc., a nonprofit entity of the church with headquarters in Salt Lake City, purchased the Florida farmland in 1950. The Deseret Ranches website says the ranch “serves as an agricultural investment and resource to support the Church’s charitable efforts.” The website also says the ranch pays property taxes, unlike religious institutions, and supports the local economy.

In 2013, the LDS church made another major land purchase: 400,000 acres in Florida’s Panhandle region, for $565 million, according to Reuters. Land purchases such as these are made through church-owned businesses such as Property Reserve, Farmland Reserve and AgReserves Inc.

Religion and real estate

The Church of Latter-day Saints has 267 congregations across Florida, 19 of which are in Miami-Dade County. There are roughly 22,470 LDS members in Broward and Miami-Dade County, according to a 2020 report from The Association of Religion Data Archives.

The Fort Lauderdale Temple, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a 28,000-square-foot building described in application materials as “an interpretation of Neoclassicism with arches, columns and a steeple.” The temple features a sun and palm tree motif with beautiful murals in the first-stage endowment room, inspired by local landscapes.
The Fort Lauderdale Temple, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a 28,000-square-foot building described in application materials as “an interpretation of Neoclassicism with arches, columns and a steeple.” The temple features a sun and palm tree motif with beautiful murals in the first-stage endowment room, inspired by local landscapes. Taimy Alvarez Sun Sentinel

The LDS church grew to over 17 million members and 31,000 congregations worldwide in 2023. Latter-day Saints believe that there will be a Second Coming of Christ, and that those who have obeyed certain religious covenants on Earth will ”return to live with God and their families forever,” according to the LDS website.

The church’s website outlines certain tenets that seem reflected in the accumulation of real estate. It states that a large part of LDS culture is welfare and learning to become self-reliant, or being able to take care of the spiritual and physical needs of themselves, their families and their communities. That can include starting their own business, being wise with finances or accumulating resources to prepare for uncertain times. The LDS church also operates resource storehouses or “Bishops’ Storehouses,” which are like supermarkets without the till, and are paid for by donations from church members. There are 260 facilities across the country that offer food and household products to anyone in or outside of the church who is struggling. The idea is that, should the world descend into chaos, LDS members will be prepared to weather the storm.

This story was produced with financial support from Trish and Dan Bell and from donors comprising the South Florida Jewish and Muslim Communities, in partnership with Journalism Funding Partners. The Miami Herald maintains full editorial control of this work.

This story was produced with financial support from Trish and Dan Bell and from donors comprising the South Florida Jewish and Muslim Communities, in partnership with Journalism Funding Partners. The Miami Herald maintains full editorial control of this work.

This story was originally published January 6, 2024, 2:28 PM.



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