You could own part of a New York landmark

The Empire State Building is gearing for a sale.

Have you ever wanted to own a piece of architectural history? If so, now might be your chance if a landmark in the New York skyline suits your fancy.

According to The New York Times, the real estate family that owns the Empire State Building might start soon selling shares to the public through a real estate investment trust (REIT).

The deal could mark one of the largest initial public offerings ever for such a trust, which is valued at more than $5 billion. Malkin Holdings manages the building and its investors and is leading the first public offering.

"I think it certainly has sex appeal," Joel Beam, a buyer of REITs for the mutual fund Forward Select Income Fund, told The Wall Street Journal.

Flip-flopping on initial public offering
Many of the stakeholders opposed the initial IPO plan, according to The Wall Street Journal, but the Malkin family recently said they had discarded unsolicited offers after evaluations in favor of the IPO.

"It seems a private buyer might be a far better deal for owners than management's proposed REIT," Richard Edelman, whose family has a stake in the company that owns the Empire State Building, told The Wall Street Journal. "It's very frustrating to the [Empire State Building's] long-term investors and their families to be denied a vote on that option."

Keep on bidding
Joseph Sitt knows the drill. The Brooklyn-born investor owns high-end retail properties in London, Mexico City and Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.

His initial bid was denied by the Malkins, but he responded with an offer of $1.4 billion for the building through his Thor Equities, according to multiple reports.

That offer is above the appraised value of $1.3 billion.

The Empire State Building is currently undergoing a massive renovation plan. The Malkins are supervising the makeover, which costs more than $550 million.

Michael Knott, an analyst with Green Street Advisors Inc., said early views of the project have been positive. Knott said the first 20 floors that have been renovated have pulled in nearly double their revenue, and roughly 50 more floors are slated for upgrades.

The Empire State Building is 102-stories tall and the third highest skyscraper in the United States behind the Willis Tower and the Trump International Hotel and Tower, both of which reside in Chicago.

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