A $500 million fund that will develop high-performance green office buildings has closed. Yesterday, Houston-based real estate developer/investor Hines announced the closing of the Hines CalPERS Green Development Fund (HCG), capitalized with more than $120 million of committed equity and with leverage will have the ability to invest up to $500 million.

The HCG fund will concentrate on developing high performance, sustainable office buildings certifiable through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Core and Shell Program (LEED-CS). The fund will focus on developing office projects throughout the United States. CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension, with assets totaling more than $210 billion.

The fund has already deployed capital to take controlling interest its first project, Tower 333 in Bellevue, WA. Completion for this Hines-developed 20-story, 410,000-square-foot office project is expected in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Says Hines President Jeff Hines: “The formation of this fund represents several significant events. First, the largest pension fund in the nation has acknowledged the importance and economic viability of sustainable building, which is a monumental step for the industry.Second, it is notable that CalPERS has selected Hines to create the nation’s first ‘green’ fund, based on our experience in sustainable development as recognized by the USGBC and the EPA. Third, it represents the continuation of a long, successful joint venture relationship between Hines and CalPERS.”

Hines has established itself as a leader in sustainable development around the globe. 1180 Peachtree in Atlanta, which Hines developed with CalPERS through National Office Partners, was the first LEED-CS Silver pre-certified office project in the world – now it is Gold certified.

It was followed by One South Dearborn, the first LEED-CS Silver pre-certified project in Illinois, which is now Silver certified. Tower 333 is the nation’s first LEED-CS pre-certified office project on the West Coast and Hines’ 2211 Michelson Office Tower in Irvine is the first LEED-CS pre-certified project in California.

Hines also has five projects registered with the LEED Existing Buildings pilot program. The firm was also recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program as “Partner of the Year” from 2001-2003 and received the “Sustained Excellence Award” in 2004.