For Around $14, You Can Own Part of the Empire State Building
After two years of vicious in-fighting, the group of investors who own the Empire State Building are taking the New York icon public. Starting October 1, regular people will be able to buy into the Empire State Realty Trust for between $13-$15 a share, according to an SEC filing.
But there's a catch: The Empire State Building is just one of 21 properties in the Empire State Realty Trust. Which means what you'll really be buying is a share of a trust, not the Empire State Building specifically. Bloomberg News explains:
Empire State Realty Trust Inc. (ESB), whose properties include Manhattan’s Empire State Building, filed to raise as much as $1.07 billion as it proceeds with one of the largest initial public offerings of a U.S. real estate investment trust.
The company, based in New York, plans to offer 71.5 million shares for $13 to $15 each, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. It expects to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ESRT.
Malkin Holdings LLC, supervisor of the Empire State Building, is moving ahead with the IPO after battling a group of dissident investors and rejecting a set of unsolicited offers for the tower. The REIT, which holds 21 New York-area properties, may be attractive to investors as it benefits from tenant demand, tourist visits to the landmark skyscraper and its holdings in prime Manhattan office locations, said Michael Knott, an analyst with research firm Green Street Advisors Inc.
Getting to this point was no easy feat. Back in April, The New York Times reported that the Malkin family, who've been pushing to take the trust public in order to have enough liquidity to maintain and repair the Empire State Building, had to make "investor-by-investor appeals" to the trust's nearly 3,000 shareholders.
Top image: The Empire State Building. (Gary Hershorn/Reuters)