WASHINGTON -- The largest auction ever of commercial properties will be held Aug. 13 in Los Angeles, the organizers said Thursday.

Seventy-three properties worth $500 million will be on the block, said Jones Lang Wootton, an international real estate services company, and Kennedy-Wilson Inc., a real estate auction and marketing firm.

About 20% of the real estate up for auction is owned by commercial banks that foreclosed on the properties. These banks will be offering financing to buyers.

Other sellers include pension funds, insurance companies, other corporations, and individuals.

Premier properties on the block will include the Americana Resort in Lake Geneva, Wis., and the historic Coast Savings Building in downtown Los Angeles.

The auction is expected to help establish values in real estate markets.

Sale Advertised Abroad

"There have been so few transactions over the past 24 months that neither buyers nor sellers can decipher appropriate value," said Simon Milde, chairman of Jones Lang Wootton USA.

The sellers plan to aim for foreign buyers by advertising in 18 countries.

"With so many properties now in the hands of lending institutions or government bodies, it is quite difficult for foreign buyers to gain access to these investments," Mr. Milde said.

Jones Lang Wootton and Kennedy-Wilson approached 100 companies during the past four months about selling their real estate through the auction. Twenty-four signed on, according to the auction organizers, including five money-center banks and two thrifts that hope to sell about 15 properties.

A catalogue describing the properties will be available June 18 through a call to 1-800-522-6664.

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