Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Barclays takes over Crescent Real Estate partnership

Ownership in some of the Dallas area's most prominent office towers has changed hands.

The Fountain Place tower in downtown Dallas is one of 36 office buildings in which Crescent Real Estate Equities has ownership. Barclays Capital said Friday that it has acquired control of Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate Equities Limited Partnership.

Crescent has stakes in 36 office buildings nationwide – including Dallas' Crescent complex in Uptown and the Trammell Crow Center and Fountain Place towers downtown.

Barclays took over the Crescent assets after a unit of Morgan Stanley Real Estate was unable to meet debt payments on the properties. Exact terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Barclays said that it has formed a partnership with former Crescent vice chairman John C. Goff to operate and own the real estate.

"Given his extensive knowledge of the Crescent portfolio, John is well suited to manage the company going forward," Barclays commercial real estate managing director Haejin Baek said in a statement.

Two years ago, Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley paid $6.5 billion to buy Crescent. But the investor was unable to meet $2 billion in debt payments due to Barclays this month.

Morgan Stanley had already taken hundreds of millions of dollars in value write-downs on the Crescent properties.

Crescent doesn't hold all of the ownership in its high-profile Dallas buildings.

In 2004, it sold a 60 percent stake in the Crescent complex to a JPMorgan Chase & Co. subsidiary. JPMorgan Chase also bought a 76 percent share of the Trammell Crow Center and Fountain Place.

The Dallas buildings are "some of the largest and best assets" in Crescent's portfolio, Baek said Friday. "They are high-quality, trophy office buildings."

Tenants in the properties won't see any shift in operations, she said.

And Barclays is committed to Crescent properties.

"We are taking a very long-term view," Baek said. "We are going to manage these buildings through this cycle in the real estate market."

Crescent owns and manages more than 17 million square feet of office space around the country. It also has investments in resort residential real estate and hotels.

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