It's not crawling too far out on a ledge for me to say the Empire State Building is our national skyscraper.
Yes, there are bigger buildings and taller office towers. But the Empire State Building is a true icon.
Now, I've never seen it, never been to New York City even, but I know the Empire State Building. I knew it before the name even made sense, before I knew that New York was the “Empire State.”
Thanks to the movies.
Thanks to King Kong, Spider-Man, and Harry and Sally.
Thanks to “An Affair to Remember,” “Elf,” “Independence Day,” “Serpico,” “Shaft” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”
Those are just the ones I've seen among more than 250 films that have starred the Empire State Building.
It's time for a new flick featuring the Empire State Building and the stock market. Call it “Sleepless at the New York Stock Exchange.”
The Empire State Building's owners went public a couple of months ago, which you might not know — because it was kind of a ho-hum IPO. No red carpet. No stars. The owners raised $930 million, pricing 71.5 million shares at $13 a piece. (Stock symbol: ESRT.)
“That was the low end of its offering range — and less than the price of tickets to visit the Empire State Building's wildly popular observation deck, which range between $16 and $55 each,” according to CNNMoney.
Income from some 4 million visitors a year makes up 40 percent of the 2.8-million-square-foot, 102-story building's income. And income from the building made up more than a quarter of all rental income for the Empire State Realty Trust's dozen properties — so those who bought a share invested in more than an icon: They invested in regular investment property.
Does it lessen the iconic shine of the Empire State Building to treat it like any other office building?
It is, after all, and first of all, a multitenant income property.
Icon or not, it stands, teeters or falls on the bottom line, whether the big ape that first made it cinematically famous in 1933, two years after it went up, likes it or not.
Things are looking up, despite the lackluster stock debut.
Space fetches $65 to $70 per square foot per year, up from $35 to $38 in 2008, according to CNBC.com.
Since it's now trading on the NYSE, the Empire State Building's tenants are public. They include Walgreen's, Bank of America, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., China's People's Daily newspaper and the Boy Scouts of America's Greater New York Council.
LinkedIn is a tenant. Hey, if you'll allow me this plot twist, that means a bunch of us have a piece of the action, social mediawise! How fun — at least as much fun as a 6-foot-3-inch elf, or a barrel of 50-foot-tall apes!
Spokeswoman Blair Decembrele told CNBC.com that the professional networking website chose the Empire State Building both for its iconic status and prestige and because it's well-positioned for resurgence in technology.
And it's close to the subways and Grand Central Station.
%No matter how cool the form, function always matters, even for a national icon.