The Chrysler Building, which has been seeking a buyer since the beginning of the year, has found a new owner. The Real Deal reported last week that Aby Rosen, the art-obsessed developer and owner of such icons as the Seagram Building and Lever House, is “in advanced talks” to buy the building. According to Bloomberg, that deal is being hammered out as a partnership between Rosen’s RFR Holding LLC, and Austrian developer Signa Holding GmbH.
Bloomberg also reports that Rosen has expressed interest in transforming the tower into a hotel (hopefully one that would preserve its Art Deco heritage).
The final sale price is likely to be a good deal lower than the $800 million that an Abu Dhabi investment fund paid for a 90 percent stake in the building back in 2008. Per Bloomberg, RFR is paying in the $151 million ballpark for the skyscraper. Commercial Observer reported similar rumors earlier today, with sources saying that some of the bids had actually come in under $100 million.
Despite being one of the city’s most iconic buildings, the Chrysler is facing headwinds when it comes to attracting tenants, thanks to the competition from new and shiny office buildings throughout the city. And then there’s the ground lease: The Cooper Union holds it, and it could go up to as much as $41 million by 2028; rents, however, haven’t kept up the pace.
But it’s hardly surprising that Rosen would take an interest in the building; in addition to Seagram and Lever—both midcentury modern icons—Rosen’s development firm, RFR Holdings, owns well-known NYC properties like the formerly graffiti-covered bank building at 190 Bowery; the Gramercy Park Hotel; and the Norman Foster-designed condo tower at 100 East 53rd Street.
Another bidder for the property was reportedly RXR Realty, which is redeveloping the Grand Hyatt New York hotel just down the block, along with TF Cornerstone and MSD Partners.