If the Empire State Building goes public, does it make a sound?

Iconic or not, the Empire State Building's values rests on the bottom line, especially now that shares in the ownership are trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
by Richard Mize Modified: December 7, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: December 7, 2013

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.

by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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