BATON ROUGE, La. (BR Proud) — Atlanta-based Seefried Industrial Properties, with ties to Amazon, is the company behind new site plans filed with the city to transform Cortana Mall into a nearly three million sq. ft. warehouse.
The plans were received by the City of East Baton Rouge on Jan. 7 and initiated by an engineering representative of consulting firm CSRS, with an office location in Baton Rouge.
Seefried has a long history representing Amazon in property deals. In a December transaction, Seefried acquired 75 acres outside of Los Angeles County to reportedly develop an Amazon fulfillment center. The seller’s agent told commercial real estate publication, Connect California, that the 1.5 million sq. ft. warehouse would create 1, 500 jobs for the area.
Rumors of Amazon taking over the defunct Cortana Mall property have swirled since early 2019. In June 2020 however, Business Report disclosed long-time anchor Dillard’s clearance center could be to blame for the deal falling apart. Since then however, the company posted a surprise quarterly profit in its fiscal third quarter brought about, in part, by aggressive inventory clearance measures. This strategy allowed Dillard’s to exit the period with inventory down 20% year over year, in turn allowing the company to boost its retail gross margin.
This business strategy may be a foreshadowing of what is to come of the Dillard’s clearance center operating at Cortana Mall. With 32 clearance centers spanning 29 states, including locations in Kenner and Slidell, Dillard’s may be looking to unload before reporting back to investors.
Seefried has developed several facilities throughout the U.S. for Amazon, and makes varying decisions on if and/or when to sell the properties, according to Triad Business Journals, however Paul Seefried, vice president of development declined to tell the Journal how many Amazon-related properties his company has transacted.
There are currently no Amazon fulfillment centers in Louisiana. These centers usually serve as sorting centers at regional warehouses where Amazon packages are sorted to a last mile carrier, typically either Amazon Logistics or the United States Postal Service.
The East Baton Rouge Planning Commission will discuss the site plan at their meeting on Monday, Feb. 22.