Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Arabs Come, Arabs Go

They would take Manhattan. And Manhattan takes them for a ride. Foreign investors, that is.

You know that the New York property market has peaked when international investors pony up absurd amounts of money for Manhattan trophy buildings. Particularly for one of the three "Great Ones," the Art Deco icons Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center. Now it looks like investors from Abu Dhabi are ready to pay $800 million for 75% of the Chrysler Building.

Maybe someone should remind them of how the Japanese got burned with the Rockefeller Center? But then, that would be unfair. Arabs sell ridiculously overpriced oil to Americans — Americans sell ridiculously overpriced real estate to Arabs. That's fair.

On a related note, some days ago the sale of General Motors Building closed, making it the most expensive (or overpriced) building ever. Here, investors from Kuwait and Qatar poured 2.8 billion petrodollars into a building whose price isn't likely to go anywhere but down.

As for me, I'm gonna ask Garfield to ship me to Abu Dhabi. You see, I got a big orange bridge for sale.

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