Morgan Stanley, the securities firm that spent more than $8bn on commercial property in 2007, plans to relinquish five San Francisco office buildings to its lender two years after purchasing them from Blackstone Group near the top of the market.

The bank has been negotiating an 'orderly transfer' of the towers since earlier this year, Alyson Barnes, a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman, said yesterday in a telephone interview. AREA Property Partners will take over the buildings. Barnes declined to say when the transfer will occur.

'This isn’t a default or foreclosure situation,' Barnes said. 'We are going to give them the properties to get out of the loan obligation.'