Friday, December 2, 2011

A Tall Order for Stock Investors

The Malkin family of New York, which currently controls the 102-story landmark, filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday saying that it has "embarked on a course of action" that could result in the skyscraper being included in a newly formed real- estate investment trust.

The building was valued in the summer at $1.65 billion, when the Malkin family refinanced the property. The building's net annual income is $63 million, according to Commercial Mortgage Alert.

The Malkin family stake in the skyscraper dates back to the days when Harry Helmsley bought a controlling stake in the property in the early 1960s with Lawrence Wien, the father-in-law of Peter Malkin. Mr. Malkin has since taken control but only after years of battling with Ms. Helmsley, who inherited her husband's interest.

Developed in the early 1930s by group of investors led by tycoon John Raskob, the Empire State Building hit the market during the Depression and sat mostly empty for years. Gradually, though, the building filled up with hundreds of tenants and became a Hollywood darling featured in movies such as "King Kong" and "Sleepless in Seattle."

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