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If a movie cuts to a shot of the Empire State Building or the World Trade Tower you can be assured that the scenes that follow take place in New York City. But few film directors would choose the Seagram Building on Park Avenue to identify NYC because the skyscraper design that it pioneered has been so widely imitated around the world.

Now, that archetype of urban architecture has been put up for sale by owner TIAA-CREF for, reports say, about $350 million. That translates to about $500 per sf for the 700,000-sf tower. Teachers purchased the building more than 20 years ago for a little more than $70 million.

Is it worth the asking price? An industry professional GlobeSt.com spoke with says that it “is not out of reason. Certainly that building can command what the market has to offer both for its prestigious address and character. I’m not surprised to hear those numbers.”

He noted that Lever House across the avenue, which was also sold recently, is said to be leasing at $90 or more per sf. That would suggest that the prospective per-sf rate for the Seagram property “is not a wild number.”

With the real estate market so hot in NYC, why are so many premium properties such as the Chrysler building on the block? Many of those buildings were acquired when rentals and vacancy rates were much different than they are now and purchased with opportunistic capital that requires the value of the investment to be realized, sources say.

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