The Chrysler Building, the art deco skyscraper that has been a key part of the New York City skyline for nearly 90 years, is up for sale.
The building has been owned by Mubadala, a Abu Dhabi investment fund, and real estate firm Tishman Speyer since 2008. They have hired CBRE Group to sell the property, according to Darcy Stacom, chairman of CBRE’s New York City capital markets group. The sales plans were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“Clearly, it’s an iconic building with tremendous reputational value for the right buyer,” said Brian Lott, spokesperson for Mubadala
When the building was completed in 1930, it was the tallest building in the world, a title it held for about a year until the Empire State Building opened less than a mile away in midtown Manhattan.
Today it is only the sixth tallest building in the city, and will drop down another notch later this year when a new office tower opens on the city’s west side. But it is still one of the city’s most recognizable buildings. It is famous for its triangle-shaped, vaulted windows worked into the stylized crown, along with its distinctive eagle gargoyles near the top. It has been featured prominently in many films, including Men in Black 3, Spider-Man, Armageddon, Two Weeks Notice and Independence Day.
But it finds itself competing for tenants with more modern office space. The previous sale took place just before the 2008 financial meltdown led to a plunge in real estate prices.
Still there have been a number of high profile skyscrapers purchased for top dollar in recent years, including the Waldorf Astoria hotel, which Chinese firm Anbang Insurance purchased in 2016 for nearly $2 billion, and the Willis Tower in Chicago, which was formerly known as Sears Tower – once the world’s tallest. Blackstone Group (BX) bought it for $1.3 billion 2015.
The Chrysler Building was headquarters of the American automaker until 1953, but it was named for and owned by Chrysler chief Walter Chrysler, not the company itself.
Walter Chrysler had set out to build the tallest building in the world, a competition at that time with another Manhattan skyscraper under construction at 40 Wall Street at the south end of Manhattan. He kept secret the plans for the spire that would grace the top of the building, building it inside the structure and out of view of the public until 40 Wall Street was complete. Once the competitor could rise no higher, the spire of the Chrysler building was raised into view, giving it the title.