Facebook’s 2012 initial public offering might be the most blabbed about, but another upcoming IPO offers you the chance to snag some equity in an American icon. Malkin Holdings LLC, a real estate investment trust that owns the Empire State Building, is working on going public. They haven’t filed for an IPO yet, but when they do, investors will have a shot at owning part of the Empire State Building — well, sort of.
Now, we admit that this is a somewhat inaccurate way of saying that you can own equity in a company that includes the iconic skyscraper in its growing portfolio of Manhattan properties. But that’s a lot less fun, isn’t it?
It’s more real than naming a star (not to mention a better investment), and it’s easier to grasp the worth of owning stock in a REIT than it is in buying into a 3x short Euro ETF — whatever the hell that is. REITs — and other firms with real estate holdings — offer you the opportunity to invest in something real, that you can walk around in, and throw things off of (don’t do this), and maybe even be proud of.
While you wait for that Malkin IPO to happen, here’s a list of five more iconic skyscrapers owned by publicly traded REITs. Want to feel wealthier than you are? Here’s how:
1. Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York (Blackstone Group, NYSE:BX): The iconic, luxurious Manhattan hotel, famous for its eponymous salad and for having a presidential suite that the president actually uses, is owned by Blackstone Group, the massive publicly traded asset management firm. Stock in Blackstone is a bargain these days. At $13.61 a share, they’re a bargain compared to the drinks at Peacock Alley, the hotel’s restaurant and bar.
2. Burj Khalifa, Dubai (Emaar Properties, DFM:EMAAR): The Burj Khalifa, which towers over the oil-rich city-state of Dubai, not to mention every other man-made structure ever, can be part of your portfolio if you invest in Emaar Properties, which trades on Dubai’s small stock exchange. You’ll be able to see Tom Cruise creepily dangle from something you almost sort of own part of if you go see the new Mission:Impossible flick next year. Maybe the world’s most famous Scientologist touched the tiny, tiny part of the building that your shares represent, in your mind.
3. John Hancock Tower, Boston (Boston Properties, NYSE:BXP): The John Hancock Tower in Boston’s Back Bay stands out in the drab Boston skyline with its massive reflective glass facade. it’s also famous for these glass panels, which used to rain down on the plaza below in the 70’s, due to an engineering error. That trouble is all behind it, as are its troubles from last decade when several consecutive owners disappeared about $700 million into the tower, as Boston Properties is the new owner.
4. 30 St. Mary Axe, London (IVG Immobilien AG, Xetra:IVG): Also known as the “gherkin,” this London skyscraper towers above the UK’s capital like some sort of phallic faberge egg. You’ll know it when you see it. It’s half owned by IVG Immobilien AG, the European real estate giant, which trades on Germany’s Xetra. The other major owner, Evans Randall, is a privately owned company. So, consider your investment in St Mary Axe as more of a pickle spear, or a pickle chip, or maybe just a dab of relish.
5. Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco (AEGON, NYSE:AEG): The Transamerica Pyramid is easily San Francisco’s most iconic building, its pyramidal structure designed to withstand the strong earthquakes in the Bay Area, and to allow for proper light flow in the surrounding streets. While the silhouette of the tower is still the logo for its original owner, Transamerica, it is owned by AEGON, the Dutch life insurance group, whose stock trades on the NYSE.