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5 office buildings in Cambridge, Boston get $2.1b

NEW YORK — Blackstone Group has agreed to sell five office properties in the Boston area for $2.1 billion, disposing of part of a sprawling real estate portfolio it bought before the financial crisis, a person briefed on the matter said Sunday.

The buyers are led by a Canadian real estate investment firm, Oxford Properties Group, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal. It is Blackstone’s largest sale of office space in the United States since the crisis.

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Blackstone, a private equity firm, acquired the properties when it bought Equity Office Properties Trust, a landlord built by the Chicago real estate magnate Samuel Zell, for $39 billion in 2007. Blackstone quickly sold hundreds of the properties to buyers including the real estate mogul Harry B. Macklowe.

The commercial real estate market has recovered since the downturn wreaked havoc on the Equity Office properties and created big losses for Macklowe and others. Blackstone kept properties including the towers in Boston.

Blackstone plunged into the residential real estate market after the downturn, buying distressed properties to rent out. More recently, it has been selling properties including commercial holdings. The Boston deal, for 3.2 million square feet of office space, would be its biggest US office sale since the downturn.

Oxford would buy all of 100 High St. and 125 Summer St., The Wall Street Journal reported earlier. It plans to partner with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s asset-management arm to buy 60 State St., 225 Franklin St., and One Memorial Drive in Cambridge.

Oxford declined to comment.

Blackstone is also selling its ownership stake in another building in the portfolio, Rowes Wharf, to Morgan Stanley, its partner in the building.

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