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Abu Dhabi buys Chrysler Building; next -- Mount Rushmore?

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Amy Westfeldt
Associated Press
via Yahoo News
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

NEW YORK -- An Abu Dhabi investment fund has bought a 75 percent stake in the Chrysler Building, one of the best-known landmarks on the city skyline.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Council, one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, closed the sale with Prudential Financial Inc. on Tuesday, Prudential spokeswoman Theresa Miller said Wednesday.

Miller wouldn't disclose the sale price, which many published reports placed at $800 million. Prudential held its stake in the building on behalf of a fund of primarily German investors that had closed in the past couple of years, she said.

A telephone message left Wednesday at the Abu Dhabi council wasn't immediately returned.

New York's Tishman Speyer Properties, which owns the remaining stake in the 77-story, Art Deco skyscraper and will continue to manage it, declined comment Wednesday.

Middle Eastern investors have jumped into the city's slow commercial real estate market twice in the past two months to buy big stakes in landmark skyscrapers. A Dubai-based private equity firm helped finance developer Boston Properties' $2.8 billion purchase in May of the General Motors Building and three other office towers.

The 1,046-foot Chrysler Building briefly became the world's tallest tower when it opened in 1930, until the Empire State Building topped it by over 300 feet when it was completed a year later.

New York City architect William Van Alen designed the brick office tower with its iconic, crescent-shaped spire for the automaker Chrysler Corp., decorating lower setbacks with sculptures modeled after Chrysler radiator caps and wheels. It is the city's third-tallest skyscraper.

Prudential, based in Newark, N.J., took on ownership of the tower when it acquired Atlanta-based TMW Real Estate Group in 2002. The company had bought its stake in the tower for about $300 million a year earlier.

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