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Chrysler Building sold to real estate giant

November 25, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Chrysler Building, the gleaming Art Deco tower that is among the most distinctive skyscrapers in Manhattan, has been sold.

Real estate giant Tishman Speyer Properties reached an agreement to buy the 1930s Chrysler Building from a group of Japanese banks, company president Jerry Speyer announced Monday.

Speyer said his company intends to ``restore the Chrysler Building to its original splendor as a world-class office location.″

``It’s a building with a great history,″ he said.

Although the sale price was not disclosed, analysts believe the building would go for at least $200 million, plus another $100 million for renovations.

Automobile magnate Walter Chrysler opened his $16 million monument to the machine age in 1930. The polished steel building includes huge hubcaps and winged radiator caps at the corners.

Once home to some of the giants of the aviation, steel and railroad industries, the 77-story building is about 75 percent occupied today, mostly by law firms, advertising agencies and insurance companies.

The Chrysler was once home to the Cloud Club, a tiny speakeasy lined with wooden liquor lockers marked in code to protect Prohibition-era drinkers’ identities in case of a raid. The club has since fallen into disrepair.

Other features include panels of sandblasted black glass in Walter Chrysler’s private dining room that depict auto assembly-line workers, some in overalls and fedoras; glimpses of the Empire State Building through huge triangular windows; and a men’s room with intricate tiling and a sweeping view that The New York Times called ``One of the great lavatories of all time.″

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