New York City skyline under attack by foreign investors?

iStockphoto.com Another American icon gobbled up by oil-rich overseas investors? Apparently so: An Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund bought a controlling stake in the Chrysler Building, a fixture of the Manhattan skyline that was the world’s tallest building until 1933. The purchase was the second acquisition of a New York landmark by a Middle Eastern ...

594119_080710_chrysler5.jpg
594119_080710_chrysler5.jpg

iStockphoto.com

Another American icon gobbled up by oil-rich overseas investors? Apparently so: An Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund bought a controlling stake in the Chrysler Building, a fixture of the Manhattan skyline that was the world's tallest building until 1933. The purchase was the second acquisition of a New York landmark by a Middle Eastern fund in little over a month, a trend that may continue:

Investors from the region have been a force in New York real estate for some time, rivalling Europe for the dollar volume of their investments in recent years.

iStockphoto.com

Another American icon gobbled up by oil-rich overseas investors? Apparently so: An Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund bought a controlling stake in the Chrysler Building, a fixture of the Manhattan skyline that was the world’s tallest building until 1933. The purchase was the second acquisition of a New York landmark by a Middle Eastern fund in little over a month, a trend that may continue:

Investors from the region have been a force in New York real estate for some time, rivalling Europe for the dollar volume of their investments in recent years.

Now many in the industry say they have seen increased interest from the Middle East, especially in top assets in major US cities such as New York, LA, Washington and Boston, as oil prices soar, the dollar remains weak and building values soften or fall.

Many Americans find sovereign wealth funds confusing (a particularly unfortunate typo in today’s Washington Post Express citing “Abu Ghraib investors” behind the Chrysler deal probably doesn’t help). But should we really be all that worried?

As Anders Åslund wrote in an FP Web exclusive last December, the short answer is no. According to Åslund, Americans and Europeans have nothing to fear. Soverign wealth funds are actually a “lousy bargain” for the citizens of the investor countries themselves, he writes.

Purchases such as the Chrysler Building may be a public relations boon for foreign investors, but similar forays into American icons such as Pebble Beach and Rockefeller Center in the 1990s proved to be busts. If past is prologue, Abu Dhabi may come to regret this vanity investment.

Patrick Fitzgerald is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.