New York. Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding LLC is in serious talks to buy Manhattan’s landmark Chrysler Building, according to people familiar with the matter.
A deal hasn’t yet been signed, said the people, who weren’t authorised to speak because the matter is private. The bidding process is ongoing and RFR isn’t the only serious bidder, one of the people said.
RFR’s offer for the art deco tower, near Grand Central Terminal, is between $100 million and $200 million — compared the $800 million the Abu Dhabi Investment Council paid in 2008 for a 90 per cent stake, one of the people said. RFR’s bid was first reported by the Real Deal on Friday.
A spokesman for CBRE Group Inc, which is marketing the property, declined to comment. Representatives for RFR and Tishman Speyer, which owns a 10 per cent stake, also declined to comment.
The tower, completed in 1930 and one of the most recognisable symbols of Manhattan’s skyline, was for a short time the tallest building in the world, only to be surpassed when the Empire State Building opened the following year. But its interior is ageing, and New York tenants have been favouring new glassy skyscrapers at Hudson Yards on the far west side and the World Trade Center downtown.
Another factor that brokers say dents the value of the Chrysler Building is increasing expenses tied to its ground lease. The land under the tower is owned by the Cooper Union school, which raised the annual fee to $32.5 million last year from $7.75 million in 2017, CBRE confirmed in January. More increases are scheduled in coming years.
“The ground lease is a glaringly obvious negative,” said Adelaide Polsinelli, a broker at New York City-based Compass. “The other negatives are that the space is not new and it is landmarked, therefore it’s twice as hard to get anything done.”
Rosen, known as an art collector as well as a developer, controls properties including the Seagram Building, another landmark Midtown skyscraper. He is marketing condos at 100 E. 53rd St., a tower designed by Norman Foster’s architecture firm.