Qatar has become one of the biggest commercial property owners in New York City, according a new report.
The country’s sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is now listed as New York’s ninth-largest commercial property owner, according to real estate intelligence firm CoStar Group.
Following last year’s acquisition of a 9.9 percent stake ($622m investment) in Empire State Realty Trust REIT, which controls the Empire State Building and other properties, QIA’s total rentable building area was 10.69 million square feet at the end of March 2017, a 145% increase from the previous year.
QIA, which has about $338 billion of assets according to industry tracker Sovereign Wealth Center, opened an office in New York in September 2015, and announced plans to spend $35 billion in the US over the following five years, a move that diversified the state fund away from investments traditionally focused on Europe.
Since the office opened, the fund has invested in $3.8 billion in New York City property acquisition, according to Real Capital Analytics, and a further $6.5 billion in US acquisition deals overall, Crain’s Business reports.
"Internationally, New York real estate is a safe place to park assets," Michael Maduell, president of research firm Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, told Crain’s Business. "And wealth funds are sometimes willing to pay more for assets than real estate fund managers. They're buying assets for the long term - like 20 to 30 years."
Qatar Investment Authority, created in 2005, handle the country’s windfall from liquefied natural gas sales, of which it is the world’s biggest exporter.
Since then, the sovereign wealth fund has become the 14th largest in the world.
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