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BOSTON-After weeks of speculation, John Hancock Financial Services has officially put its three-building complex in the Back Bay on the market. Included in the deal is its 62-story tower–one of the city’s most prestigious buildings.

The tower is located at 200 Clarendon St. The other properties are a 12-story building at 197 Clarendon St. as well as a 26-story building at 26 Berkeley St. The New York office of Morgan Stanley is handling the sale. According to Roy Anderson, spokesperson for the company, the three buildings together total nearly three million sf of space. The tower alone has 1.7 million sf.

Anderson tells GlobeSt.com that the company is not commenting on the asking price but he notes that the firm expects to “secure the highest price” for the properties. The company says it will be inviting bids in upcoming weeks and adds that, under the terms of any sale, the company will lease back on a long-term basis much of the space it currently occupies. John Hancock anticipates leasing the space for a minimum of 10 years with several options to extend. The company expects to have the ability to reside in the complex for at least 25 years.

In explaining the decision to put the buildings up for sale, Hancock chairman and CEO David F. D’Alessandro says, “Over the past several weeks, we have undertaken an intensive and thorough analysis of the commercial real estate market and decided that this is an opportune time to proceed with a sale. Demand for signature real estate properties like ours is very strong right now. By taking advantage of that, we will generate a significant amount of capital that can be redeployed in ways that will strengthen the company and create value for our stakeholders.”

The company emphasizes that it will be following the lead of many publicly traded financial services companies that lease space for their corporate headquarters rather than committing significant capital to owning and managing that property. These companies include: Nationwide Financial, Lincoln National, MONY, Mellon Financial, State Street, Citigroup and CIGNA.

Anderson points out that this sale is part of Hancock’s long-term strategic capital management plan. He notes that Hancock has divested itself of more than $2 billion of equity real estate in the last few years, including the John Hancock Center in Chicago. “These three buildings are the last large real estate holdings that we have,” says Anderson.

The sale of these properties does not include Hancock’s Clarendon Assemblage properties, which consist of 131 Clarendon St. and adjacent parking lots on both sides of that building. The company put those properties up for sale this past May. Cushman & Wakefield of Massachusetts is marketing the assets.

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