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BUENOS AIRES-Bank of America has sold a majority interest in one of this city’s most prominent commercial properties, a 35-story office building designed by renowned Argentine architect Cesar Pelli. The country’s leading real estate company, IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones SA, paid $108 million according to local sources in a deal that gives the firm effective control of the six-year-old BankBoston Tower. The share price said $121 million Argentine pesos which converts to $38 million US dollars, however local sources say that that price was for the balance of Irsa’s share, however the total price was $108 million.

Bank of America has owned the Buenos Aires asset since its $48-billion buy-out of FleetBoston was completed in 2005, with the latter institution previously consuming BankBoston and that firm’s vast South American operations. The sale underscores BankBoston’s legacy on that continent, having had a presence in Buenos Aires since 1917. Over time, Bank of America has pared the holdings acquired from those mergers, divesting BankBoston retail outlets and assets in such countries as Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. There are no longer any BankBoston retail branches remaining there or in the US.

The Buenos Aires building at 265 Carlos Maria Della Paolera St. has 505,000 sf of space and rises 460 feet, making it the 13th tallest building in the city of 2.8 million people. The new ownership cites Pelli’s efficient, modern design for enhancing the building’s profile and occupancy. It is one of several commercial structures Pelli has designed in his homeland since emigrating to the US in the 1950s and establishing his international practice in New Haven, CT. Pelli’s most recognized project is the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, once the world’s tallest complex at 1,482 feet high.

IRSA, whose shares are traded both on the Argentine and New York Stock exchanges, is focused on the Buenos Aires real estate market. The firm and its subsidiaries own and manage hotels, office buildings and shopping centers, and recently struck a deal with a leading Brazil developer to pursue residential construction across Argentina through the end of the decade.

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