Hines Real Estate Investment Trust Inc. (Hines REIT), agreed to sell seven West Coast office assets in a cash transaction for $1.162 billion to an affiliate of private equity firm Blackstone (NYSE: BX) Real Estate Partners VIII.

In May, Houston-based international real estate firm Hines was said to have hired Lazard to explore a divestment of its $5.5 billion Hines Global REIT Inc. property portfolio.

The deal with Blackstone is structured as an asset purchase of approximately 3 million square feet of office properties, and includes Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles, Calif.; Daytona Buildings in Redmond, Wash.; Laguna Buildings in Redmond, Wash.; 5th and Bell in Seattle, Wash.; 2100 Powell in Emeryville, Calif.; 2851 Junction Avenue in San Jose, Calif.; and 1900 and 2000 Alameda in San Mateo, Calif.

Hines REIT is also in the process of selling its interests in and liquidating the remaining assets that comprise its portfolio, including Chase Tower in Dallas, 321 North Clark in Chicago and a grocery-anchored retail portfolio located primarily in the southeastern United States.

“When we first launched Hines REIT in 2003, it was structured as a perpetual life vehicle, much like many institutional funds,” said Sherri Schugart, president and CEO of Hines REIT.

“Impacts from the great recession caused us to close the fund to new investors in 2009, so we began considering other options that could provide the best opportunities for enhancing stockholder value through the following economic recovery. By making strategic asset sales and redeploying proceeds into Class A West Coast office properties over the last several years, we’ve been able to add to the overall quality and concentration of our portfolio, sustain attractive distributions to investors, and increase our net asset value per share. After our management and Board of Directors considered a variety of strategic alternatives to maximize stockholder value through a liquidity event, we are confident that the plan of liquidation achieves that goal,” Schugart added.

Hines REIT, one of three public non-listed REITs sponsored by Hines, said its board of directors unanimously voted to approve a plan for liquidation and dissolution of the company, subject to stockholder approval.

The transaction with Blackstone will be subject to stockholder approval of the plan of liquidation, and certain closing conditions. There will be no financing contingency associated with the transaction.

The Eastdil Secured group of Wells Fargo Securities LLC acted as financial advisor to Hines REIT on this transaction and Robert A. Stanger & Co. Inc. provided certain financial advisory services.

Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment firm founded in 1957 with a presence in 182 cities in 20 countries. Hines has $89.1 billion of assets under management, including $42.5 billion for which Hines provides fiduciary investment management services, and $46.6 billion for which Hines provides third-party property-level services.

The firm has 109 developments currently underway around the world. Historically, Hines has developed, redeveloped or acquired 1,126 properties, totaling over 351 million square feet. The firm’s current property and asset management portfolio includes 457 properties, representing over 193 million square feet. With extensive experience in investments across the risk spectrum and all property types, and a pioneering commitment to sustainability, Hines is one of the largest and most-respected real estate organizations in the world.

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