Chrysler Building may be up for sale

Marco Green
January 10, 2019

Although designed and built specifically for the Chrysler Corp., the vehicle manufacturer did not pay for its construction, nor did it ever own the skyscraper.

Owners of the building, an Abu Dhabi government fund and New York developer Tishman Speyer, have hired CBRE Group market the property, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing the chairman of the firm's New York City capital markets group.

Owners are also battling for tenants with new Manhattan builds that boast modern amenities, like bike storage, outdoor terraces, fitness centers and floor-to-ceiling windows.

But some real-estate investors told the outlet that Abu Dhabi may face headwinds recovering the $800 million it plunked down for a 90 percent stake in the building back in 2008, just before the stock market cratered.

In 1997, Tishman Speyer negotiated a long-term lease with the university that ran through 2147. The annual ground lease fee jumped to $32.5 million from $7.75 million previous year, the Journal reported, citing the school's financial documents. The rent will reset again in 2028, reaching $41 million.

Other prominent buildings, including the Willis Tower in Chicago and the Waldorf Astoria in NY, have attracted domestic and overseas investors in recent years.

The Chrysler Building's owners hope to attract the same type of buyer, who is perhaps more interested in the cachet than in strict business realities.

The tower, considered the epitome of the Art Deco style of the 1920s, was commissioned by automobile tycoon William P Chrysler and designed by architect William Van Alen. Chrysler Corp. founder Walter P. Chrysler took over the project from the developer.

The 77-storey stainless steel-clad skyscraper on the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue was finished in 1930 and was briefly the world's tallest building before the Empire State Building dethroned it 11 months later.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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