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MetLife to sell Grand Central tower

MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, said Friday it would sell its namesake skyscraper above New York’s Grand Central Station to Tishman Speyer Properties LP for $1.72 billion.
MetLife to Buy Travelers for $11.5 Billion
New York-based MetLife said the sale of the building, at 200 Park Avenue, is expected to result in an after-tax gain of at least $750 million.Mario Tama / Getty Images file
/ Source: Reuters

MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, said Friday it would sell its namesake skyscraper above New York’s Grand Central Station to Tishman Speyer Properties LP for $1.72 billion.

The sale of the mid-town Manhattan building, the second notable property sale announced by the insurer this week, will help MetLife pay for its $11.5 billion purchase of Travelers Life & Annuity from Citigroup Inc..

“It is a great real estate market, and there are different ways we need to fund to the Travelers transaction,” said John Calagna, a spokesman for MetLife.

New York-based MetLife said the sale of the building, at 200 Park Avenue, is expected to result in an after-tax gain of at least $750 million. The sale is expected to close in the current quarter.

The building will continue to serve as the company’s corporate headquarters and the “MetLife” sign will remain atop it. After the sale, MetLife plans to maintain a prominent presence in the building, which contains company offices and MetLife’s boardroom.

On Wednesday, MetLife said it planned to sell its first headquarters at One Madison Avenue in Manhattan to SL Green Realty Corp. for $918 million. The company said it expects an after-tax gain of at least $420 million.

In January, MetLife announced plans to buy Citigroup’s Travelers Life & Annuity, a deal that promises to transform it into the top seller of individual life insurance in the United States.

The 58-story office building at 200 Park Avenue was designed by architects Walter Gropius, Pietro Belluschi and Emery Roth & Sons. It opened in March 1963 as the Pan Am Building, named after the now-defunct airline.

MetLife bought the building in 1981, and renamed it in 1992. It contains 2.8 million square feet of space, and has direct access to the Grand Central train terminal. Tracks of commuter trains run underneath the building.

As the Pan Am Building, 200 Park Avenue once had a helicopter pad on its rooftop from which passengers were ferried to nearby JFK International Airport.