Hines REIT Wraps Up $1.2B Office Sale to Blackstone

With the sale of the 3 million-square-foot portfolio, the trust's liquidation process is nearing its end.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Howard Hughes Center, Los Angeles
Howard Hughes Center, Los Angeles

Los Angeles—Hines REIT takes a big step forward in its dissolution and liquidation plan with the closing of the sale of a 3 million-square-foot office portfolio to an affiliate of Blackstone, just months after announcing the deal. The group of seven West Coast properties fetched nearly $1.2 billion.

In a prepared statement, Sherri Schugart, president & CEO of Hines REIT, said the sale “was a significant and positive transaction and a result of our focus on maximizing the assets’ appeal to the institutional market.”

The West Coast portfolio is quite a collection, with locations in coveted metro markets in Washington and California. Three of the assets are in metropolitan Seattle and account for 909,100 square feet of leasable space. The Daytona Buildings and Laguna Buildings are located in Redmond, Wash., and the tower at Fifth & Bell sits in Seattle’s thriving CBD. Another three properties, totaling 768,600 square feet, can be found in Northern California. Three assets1900 and 2000 Alameda in San Mateo, and 2851 Junction in San Joseare part of the Silicon Valley market, while 2100 Powell in Emeryville is sited in San Francisco’s East Bay area. The last property, Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles, is the largest of the group at 1.3 million square feet.

The portfolio is approximately 95 percent leased and home to such tenants as Amazon, Honeywell International, Microsoft Corp., Qantas Airlines, Sony Corp. and the University of Washington. Hines REIT had amassed the assets between 2005 and 2015 in transactions totaling $1.1 billion. The REIT, which was launched by global international real estate company Hines in 2004, sees it as a successful hold.

“The vast majority of our investors will have experienced a positive return on their investment in Hines REIT given the cash distributions we have paid through the years combined with capital we expect to return to investors as a result of this liquidity event and capital we have returned in previous years,” Schugart said. “We are pleased with this performance relative to the performance of many of our peers and other investment alternatives that had comparable investment strategies and timing, especially considering the impact of the financial crisis and economic downturn during 2008 and 2009.”

With the sale of the West Coast office assets, Hines REIT’s liquidation process is nearing its end. The company has only a few remaining fully owned assets, and assets owned through its 28.8 percent interest in Hines US Core Office Fund LP.

Image courtesy of Hines