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Abu dhabi may buy new york icon building { June 11 2008 }

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June 11, 2008 --

The latest Big Apple trophy being coveted by oil-rich sovereign wealth funds is the landmark Chrysler Building.

Sources say the super-rich Abu Dhabi Investment Council is negotiating an $800 million deal for a 75 percent stake in the Art Deco treasure that has defined the Midtown skyline since 1930.

The Chrysler assets would be purchased from TMW - the German arm of an Atlanta-based investment fund that's been eager to cash out of its Chrysler stake.

The deal follows last month's sale of the GM Building and three other Macklowe/Equity Portfolio properties for $3.95 billion to a group of investors including the wealth funds of Kuwait and Qatar and Boston Properties.

As part of the Chrysler deal, sources said the Abu Dhabi Investment Council would also get part of the skyscraper's signature Trylons retail prize next door.

Tishman Speyer Properties owns the remaining 25 percent stake in the Chrysler Building and operates the landmark at 405 Lexington Ave., along with the Trylons and the newer next door neighbor at 666 Third Ave.

The Trylons space also involves retail portion, which includes the Capital Grille steakhouse and a Citibank branch.

The buildings sit on land owned by Cooper Union, which leased it in a long-term arrangement to others and uses the payments to support tuition for its students.

Recently Tishman Speyer obtained a 150-year extension of the ground lease.

Sources say the deal would leave Tishman Speyer in charge of the building, with the Abu Dhabi fund essentially acting as a silent partner.

Abu Dhabi has also partnered with Tishman Speyer in other deals around the world, sources said. Since TMW and Tishman Speyer sold 666 Fifth Ave. to Kushner Companies for $1.8 billion last year, the Atlanta group began informing the real estate community that it was ready to cash out in the landmark Chrysler Center, as well.

None of the principals involved in the deal had any comment.

Boston Properties closed on its purchase of the GM Building on Monday with investment partners Kuwait and Qatar, and will complete the purchase of three other former Macklowe properties over the next few months.

Developer Harry Macklowe was forced to sell the assets after taking a personal loan on the GM Building and other family assets to raise nearly $7 billion to buy a city package of former Equity Office buildings.

The credit markets tanked right after completing that deal in July and Macklowe was unable to refinance the short-term debt causing him to sell the four buildings to Boston Properties and return the Equity portfolio to lender Deutsche Bank.

Abu dhabi may buy new york icon building { June 11 2008 }
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