The sale of the 12-building complex
could surpass Newport Tower as the
largest sale in the state's history.

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ–Bank of America has found a buyer for the 12-building complex in Hopewell that it inherited from Merrill Lynch & Co., and the deal could become the biggest office transaction on record in New Jersey. The bank will lease back the space it uses at the 1.8 million-square-foot campus, which primarily serves its Bank of America Merrill Lynch unit.

The trade newsletter Real Estate Alert reported today that Fortress Investment Group will buy the complex for a price of $375 million to $400 million. Fortress spokesmen have not yet issued a statement or responded to phone calls to confirm. BOA was represented by Cushman & Wakefield in the transaction.

If the price paid for the Hopewell buildings does surpass $377.5 million – the amount fetched by the Newport Tower in Jersey City last year – the deal will be record-setting, according to several real estate analytics firms.

Bank of America had signaled earlier this year that it would sell off its entire real estate portfolio, save for its headquarters towers in Charlotte and New York, in a cost-cutting move. BOA, a co-owner of One Bryant Park in Manhattan, acquired Merrill Lynch in 2009.

So far this year, the bank has sold the Hearst Tower in Charlotte and 100 Federal St. in Boston. It partially leased back space in both buildings. The company is currently marketing the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center in downtown Charlotte, and 540 West Madison St. in Chicago.

Real Estate Alert said terms of the Hopewell lease deal include an option for BOA to vacate 20 % of the space it occupies after three years, and an additional 20 % after eight years. However, BOA declined to disclose terms of the lease.