US Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) has formed a new joint venture with funds affiliated with Blackstone Real Estate to buy data center shells.

EXPLAINED: What is a data center REIT?

The unnamed JV has acquired a 90 percent stake in two single-tenant, data center shell properties totaling 432,000 square feet (40,100 sqm) valued at $119 million. COPT's equity share is valued at approximately $107 million. The companies did not say where the facilities were located, or the seller(s).

Based in Greater Washington, DC, COPT generally focuses on owning properties and developable land near key defense installations and other ‘knowledge-based’ government sites to supply the Government and its contractors. Including joint ventures, COPT’s core portfolio includes 180 office and data center shell properties encompassing 20.8 million square feet. The company also owns one wholesale data center with a critical load of 19.25MW.

This isn’t the first time the two companies have worked together in the data center space. COPT and Blackstone formed a $265 million joint venture in 2019 involving seven COPT data centers, before selling another eight facilities to a separate Blackstone joint venture last year for $293 million. Last year Blackstone also acquired a majority share in another six COPT data centers.