New York real estate icon may go public

Stock market investors in the US may soon be able to buy a stake in the Empire State Building, as its owners consider making the iconic skyscraper the centrepiece of a real estate investment trust, it has been reported.

The 80-year-old, 1,454ft-tall Art Deco building is the jewel in the property portfolio of New York magnate Peter Malkin and his son Anthony, whose other assets include buildings near Grand Central railway station and in New York's upscale Westchester county.

Discussions have begun between the Malkin family and other business partners, in what could mark a major new turn in the convoluted history of Manhattan's most famous building, it was reported in New York. Anthony Malkin's grandfather, Lawrence Wien, acquired control of the Empire State Building in 1961 but his separation of title to the property from ownership of the long-term master lease led to repeated skirmishes between different investors, which a decade ago included billionaire tycoon Donald Trump.

Control over the building's fate was only consolidated under the Malkins in 2002.