The Abu Dhabi Investment Council, one of the emirate's major investment funds, has acquired a stake in the iconic Chrysler Building in New York, according to sources close to the deal. It is the second major investment in a New York skyscraper by Middle Eastern money in a matter of months. The deal includes several adjacent properties to the Chrysler Building and is less than the 75 per cent stake the fund was looking at in early June, the sources said.
The seller is Pramerica Real Estate Investors, a property investment fund based in New Jersey. Theresa Miller, a spokesman for Pramerica, said: "We no longer own our 75 per cent stake in the building. I refer all questions to Abu Dhabi and Tishman Speyer." Tishman Speyer, a property management and development company, had previously said it owned 25 per cent of the Art Deco skyscraper. It was not immediately clear whether it had increased its stake or whether a new investor had joined the investment.
Steven Rubenstein, a spokesman for Tishman Speyer, and representatives of the Abu Dhabi Investment Council declined to comment. The acquisition marked the second time in a matter of months that Middle East investors have bought into iconic New York property. Boston Properties, with funding from the investment authorities of Qatar and Kuwait, and Meraas Capital, a Dubai-based private equity fund, bought the General Motors building for US$2.8bn earlier this year.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Council is the smaller and lesser known cousin of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which is the main sovereign wealth fund of the emirate. Originally founded in 1976, it took on a bigger role in 2006 when a new law authorised it to both issue investment policies and take over the day-to-day management of Abu Dhabi's portfolio of assets in the UAE and the Middle East. It is not clear whether this is the first investment the fund has made outside the Middle East.
Sovereign funds, private equity groups and property companies in the GCC have been stalking property deals in the US, Europe and UK, where property prices have dropped in some areas. More investors have been trying to get rid of their property portfolios because of fears the market will worsen. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org