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Hines REIT to Buy Hughes Center in L.A. for $506 Million

A unit of Hines Real Estate Investment Trust Inc. agreed to buy the Howard Hughes Center, a five-building office complex in Los Angeles, from Blackstone Group LP for $506 million.

Hines REIT Properties LP expects to complete the purchase of the 1.32 million-square-foot (122,000-square-meter) campus by Jan. 15, Houston-based Hines REIT said today in a regulatory filing.

Blackstone, one of the largest U.S. office landlords by square feet, was seeking a buyer for the Howard Hughes Center to capitalize on a Southern California real estate recovery, a person with knowledge of the plan said in September. The New York-based firm has been selling stabilized real estate and buying other properties as it invests a $13.3 billion fund raised last year.

The Los Angeles complex is adjacent to the Howard Hughes Promenade retail center and is 88 percent occupied, according to the filing. Blackstone bought it as part of the 2006 purchase of Trizec Properties Inc., a joint acquisition with the company now known as Brookfield Office Properties Inc.

In August, Blackstone sold seven Southern California office buildings to Prudential Financial Inc.’s real estate unit for about $400 million. Three of the properties are in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, and four are in the San Diego suburb of Sorrento Mesa.

Peter Rose, a spokesman for Blackstone, didn’t immediately return a telephone call after regular office hours seeking comment on the transaction.

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