NU Online News Service, Aug. 29, 2003, 3:02 p.m. EDT – Metropolitan Insurance and Annuity Company, a unit of MetLife Inc., New York, has acquired the Sears Tower in Chicago by paying $9 million to take over a second mortgage on the building from Trizec Properties Inc., Chicago, a real estate investment trust.

MetLife also has agreed to keep responsibility for more than $700 million in tower-related mortgage debt.

Trizec has been managing the tower, which is the tallest building in the United States, since 1997, and one of its predecessor companies acquired a second mortgage on the tower that same year.

“Under the terms of the 1997 transaction, Trizec was scheduled to assume ownership of the property in 2003, subject to the first mortgage held by MetLife,” Trizec says.

As a result of the deal with MetLife, “Trizec no longer owns the Sears Tower second mortgage,” Trizec says. “Trizec also does not have any equity ownership position in Sears Tower, nor is the company now scheduled to assume an ownership position.”

If Trizec had kept the second mortgage, it would have had to assume $766 million in tower mortgage debt from MetLife, but now the company will no longer have to do so, Trizec says.

Trizec continues to own a large parking garage across from the tower, and the company will continue to act as the tower’s property manager and leasing agent.