Turning Japanese?

We missed yesterday’s piece by Steve Cuozzo about the sale of the Essex House to Dubai Investment Group, a subsidiary of Dubai Holding.

It’s not their first prominent tourism-related purchase. The firm last year bought Madam Tussaud’s (along with a portfolio of apartment buildings in the U.S. sunbelt worth about $1 billion).

And it was part of the consortium that bought the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco last month.

(A quick digression: Dubai is the emirate that’s building the world’s tallest building–yes, it will be taller than the Freedom Tower)–at almost half a mile high. The architect? Skidmore, Owings and Merrill–that’s right, the designers of the new Freedom Tower.)

We wonder if we’re going to see prominent New York buildings snapped up by Dubai investors the way we saw Japanese investors crowd the Manhattan real estate market in the late 80’s–and whether they’ll all have to be sold in case instability in the region forces countries like Dubai to liquidate Western assets.

– Tom McGeveran Turning Japanese?