Rags-to-riches mega-developer Stephen Ross is taking on Amazon.
The one-time tax attorney turned billionaire builder announced this morning that his Related Companies is partnering with logistics investment specialists Greenfield Partners to buy upstart fulfillment firm, Quiet Logistics, Inc., for an undisclosed amount.
The two plan to turn the $1 billion a year e-commerce company into “the supply chain for the next century.”
“As leading investors in logistics properties for over two decades, we are eager to once again play a leadership role anticipating the rapidly changing needs of forward-thinking brands and retailers. We are pleased to partner with Related to create the supply chain for the next century,” Eugene (Gene) Gorab, President and CEO of Greenfield Partners.
“The logistics and retail markets are undergoing a secular metamorphosis. Brands and fulfillment firms alike seek to rationalize cost structures, increase delivery performance, and deliver consistently high service levels across channels. This partnership was built to leverage our collective skills, but more importantly, it was designed to enable our stakeholders to excel in today’s competitive environment.”
Related is getting into the venture with its Fund Management platform and armed with its own experiences regenerating retail for the millennia. It bought the upscale Equinox gym chain back in 2005 and now also owns the popular SoulCycle chain. It has grown both brands, in part, by integrating them into its own developments, the biggest of which will open this Friday at Hudson Yards.
The Shops at Hudson Yards is populated by big name anchors including Neiman Marcus, Cartier, Lululemon and Sephora, but is will also house a ‘Floor of Discovery’ stacked with a collection of first locations from digitally native brands such as Mack Weldon, Rhone, Heidi and M.Gemi.
It’s those type of cyber-brands in which Quiet Logistics specializes, working with direct-to-consumer companies including Tuft & Needle, Away, Love Your Melon, M. Gemi and Mack Weldon.
In a statement this morning, the company’s new owners said it will expand the Quiet Logistics network of fulfillment centers to the West Coast and Midwest, extending globally in the coming years.
“This will enable Quiet Logistics to provide faster and more cost-effective delivery direct to consumer, as well as seamless omni-channel fulfillment services to its retail partners around the world,” said the statement.
Quiet Logistics Founder Bruce Welty has returned to the company as CEO, and will continue to work with the existing management team as he grows the business. Welty has over 30 years of experience in the fulfillment business, and in addition to founding Quiet Logistics, also founded Locus Robotics – a purpose-built robotics solution for the fulfillment industry.
He said, “I am thrilled to return to Quiet Logistics, to help as we enter a new phase of growth. This significant investment and strategic expansion strategy will allow us to deliver an even more differentiated product, better customer service, and more efficient seamless fulfillment services to our retail partners.”
Michael Winston, Managing Director of Related Fund Management, said, “Related has developed some of the most successful retail developments in the United States and we are acutely aware of the challenges and opportunities presented by omni-channel e-commerce. Related has also previously invested in customer-focused operating businesses – including both Equinox and SoulCycle – whose continued growth was predicated upon a significant expansion of and investment in their real estate portfolios.
“Quiet Logistics has an incredibly strong management team that marries deep knowledge of and expertise in technology-driven third-party fulfillment operations with an exceptional team of innovators in robotics design and development. Our investment and corporate synergies offer a unique opportunity to grow the business and even better service current and future customers with a strong capital base, state-of-the-art fulfillment centers, and an innovative, efficient and reliable model.”
Detroit native Stephen Ross founded Related in 1972 and has built it into one of the most successful development firms in the world. Today, it has a $15 billion portfolio of assets and manages $1.5 billion of equity capital on behalf global investors. As well as Equinox and SoulCycle, it has a partnership interest in Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events. Ross also co-founded RSE Ventures, a sports and entertainment private investment firm that owns and operates the Drone Racing League, Thuzio, VaynerMedia, among others, and he co-owns Kangaroo Media, the producer of FanVision
Ross himself has donated nearly $400 million to the University of Michigan and owns a 50 percent share of the Miami Dolphins .