MetLife on Tuesday said it agreed to sell Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town for $5.4 billion in a move that was sure to spark dismay among residents who have fought to stop the middle class housing from falling into the hands of developers.

MetLife Inc. sold the complex to Tishman Speyer in a joint venture with BlackRock Realty, the real estate arm of BlackRock, Inc. It is anticipated that the sale will close in the fourth quarter of 2006, subject to customary closing conditions.

The Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town properties together make up the largest apartment complex in Manhattan, totaling over 11,000 units, spread over 80 contiguous acres. The properties are bounded on the west by First Avenue, to the east by FDR Drive and the East River, to the north by 23rd Street and to the south by 14th Street.

"Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town is an extraordinary asset and we are very pleased with the market reaction we received to this sale," said Robert Merck, head of real estate investments for MetLife. "This property has been a prominent asset in MetLife's real estate portfolio for nearly six decades."