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Wednesday's IPO: Empire State Realty Trust

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- On Wednesday the Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT - Get Report) listed shares on the New York Stock Exchange. By listing as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, investors have the opportunity to participate and now trade shares in an efficient manner, with full market liquidity.

The new REIT consists of 12 office properties encompassing 7.7 million square feet (around 83.5% leased) and six retail properties, consisting of four free-standing buildings that are 100% leased (excluding the Empire State Building).

The combined portfolio, encompassing around 8.4 million rentable square feet, is located in midtown Manhattan; Fairfield County, Conn.; and Westchester County, N.Y.

The most recognizable property in the REIT portfolio is the Empire State Building, constructed in 1931. At 102 stories tall, the iconic tower was the tallest tower in New York City. The building was developed by a group of prominent businessmen including John Jakob Raskob (founder of General Motors), Coleman Du Pont, Pierre S. Du Pont (president of E.I. Du Pont de Nemours), Louis G. Kaufman and Ellis P. Earle, from Empire State, Inc. and Alfred E. Smith, former governor of New York four times and presidential candidate in 1928.

Ground work for the tower commenced in 1930 and on May 31, 1931, President Hoover pressed a button that turned on the lights, officially opening the building to the public. The tower was sold a couple of times in the 1950s.

Then on Aug. 23, 1961, the building was sold to an investment group headed by Lawrence A. Wien for $65 million -- a price (which did not include the valuable Fifth Avenue land under the structure) that was believed to be the highest ever paid for a single building at that time.

In 2002, Peter L. Malkin, who has previously acquired the land from Donald Trump, purchased the actual building, making Malkin both majority owner and manager of the Empire State Building. However, Malkin was joined in complex partnership that consisted of more than 2,800 shareholders, some dating back to 1961 when Lawrence Wien was the managing partner.
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