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Crescent Said to Sell Stake in $2 Billion of Texas Buildings to JPMorgan

By Hui-yong Yu
October 06, 2011 5:27 PM EDT

Crescent Real Estate Holdings LLC sold its stake in six Texas office properties valued at about $2 billion to its partner, a unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), a person with knowledge of the transaction said.

The acquisition, completed Sept. 28, gave J.P. Morgan Asset Management full ownership of Houston Center and The Crescent office and retail complex in Dallas, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The six properties have 9.1 million square feet (845,000 square meters) of space, said the person, who declined to give the price for Crescent Real Estate’s 24 percent stake.

Crescent has been selling assets as the commercial real estate market recovers from the recession. Well-leased office buildings with steady income have attracted institutional clients as yields on other investments hover near record lows. J.P. Morgan Asset bought two Seattle office towers from developer Schnitzer West LLC for $480 million in August.

Crescent has been owned since November 2009 by a joint venture between Barclays Capital, a unit of Barclays Plc (BARC), and Fort Worth-based Goff Capital Inc. Goff is led by John Goff, who was vice chairman and chief executive officer of Crescent’s predecessor company, Crescent Real Estate Equities Co., when it was acquired by Morgan Stanley for $6.5 billion in 2007.

Kristen Chambers, a spokeswoman for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, declined to comment. Brandon Ashcraft, a Barclays Capital spokesman, had no immediate comment. Jean Suitt, a spokeswoman for Crescent, referred questions to John Goff, who she said wasn’t available for comment.

Real Estate Alert reported last week that the deal was imminent.

Value Includes Debt

Crescent will continue to operate the properties, according to the person with knowledge of the deal, who said the estimated $2 billion value of the buildings includes debt.

Aside from Houston Center and The Crescent, the properties include Fulbright Tower in downtown Houston, Post Oak Central in Houston’s West Loop/Galleria section, and Fountain Place and Trammell Crow Center in Dallas.

Houston Center has three office buildings, the tallest of which is 46 stories. The complex is connected via sky-bridges to a Four Seasons Hotel and the 52-story Fulbright Tower.

Post Oak Central has three 24-story buildings designed by Philip Johnson. Fountain Place, in downtown Dallas, is a 60- story, prism-shaped building of green glass designed by I.M. Pei & Partners. Trammell Crow Center, also downtown, has 50 floors.

Crescent continues to own Greenway Plaza, a 52-acre (21- hectare), 10-building office, retail, hotel and residential complex near downtown Houston, as well as office buildings in Denver, Fort Worth and Las Vegas. It also has a Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dallas, and Canyon Ranch spas in Tucson, Arizona, and Lenox, Massachusetts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hui-yong Yu in Seattle at hyu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at ketzel@bloomberg.net

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