Contact Us

The Chrysler Building Is Changing Hands As Sellers Take Big Loss

The Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Tishman Speyer own the ground lease on the Chrysler Building.

RFR Holding Co. has agreed to buy the Chrysler Building for just over $150M — a massive loss for the sellers of the famed building.

RFR is joining with Austrian real estate firm Signa Holding GmbH to sign a contract to acquire the building, Reuters reports. The Abu Dhabi Investment Council paid $800M for a 90% stake in the Chrysler Building from Tishman Speyer in 2008. Tishman Speyer still owns the remaining 10%.

RXR Realty and Developers Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. also bid for the property, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Real Deal was first to report the deal was close.

Though one of the most famous pieces of the New York City skyline, the Chrysler Building has around 400K SF of vacant, or soon to be vacant, space. The sale of the building is attached to a ground lease, and the rent ADIC and Tishman Speyer were paying to Cooper Union — which owns the land under the building — jumped from $7.8M to $32.5M between 2017 and 2018. It will go to $41M in 2028, according to the WSJ.

CBRE was marketing the building, which was built between 1928 and 1930. When it was listed for sale earlier this year, many speculated the owners could face an upward battle to break even on a sale.

Aside from the increasing ground rents, the investment sales market has cooled in the city — and Chinese investors, who had been major buyers of U.S. real estate — particularly high-profile Manhattan properties — have pulled back from the American real estate market.

RFR, led by Aby Rosen, owns the Seagram Building and Lever House at 390 Park Ave. — where it has faced difficulty with the ground lease it has with the Korein family.