SAN FRANCISCO -- Union Bank said Tuesday that it has completed the sale of problem commercial real estate assets in California that were on its books at $75 million.

The San Francisco-based bank, which is 70% owned by, the Bank of Tokvo, would not identify the buyer, except to say that it was a U.S. institution.

Union Bank also would not specify the purchase price, but confirmed it was somewhat below the $75 million figure. The underlying loans had an original face value of $116.4 million.

The transaction is believed to be the first bulk sale of commercial real estate assets by a Japanese-controlled bank in the United States.

Sign of Stability

The sale sends another signal that California realty values may be stabilizing.

BankAmerica Corp. a few days ago said it was completing the sale of real estate assets with a face value of $1.36 billion for $450 million, or 33 cents on the dollar.

Most of the BankAmerica property is in Southern California, which has been rocked especially hard by the recession.

The assets Union sold included loans and foreclosed property, 89% of which were located in Southern California.

Variety of Real Estate

The properties were a mix of offices, commercial land, and real and industrial developments, according to a spokesman for Wedge Realty Advisors of Newport Beach, Calif., which represented the buyer.

Union said in April that it was pursuing a bulk sale of roughly $80 million in commercial real estate assets.

It continues to hold about $7.6 million of real estate assets that are categorized as "held for sale."

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