Seagram Building Owner Said in Talks to Buy Berlin Tower

RFR Holding LLC, the investment firm that owns New York’s Seagram Building and Lever House, is in talks to buy a Berlin skyscraper that’s due to be completed in 2017, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The 33-floor Upper West tower, owned by developer Strabag Real Estate GmbH, is valued at as much as 300 million euros ($400 million), according to two people with knowledge of the property. All three asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The Upper West, overlooking Berlin Zoo in the western Charlottenburg district, will be 118 meters (387 feet) tall, with 53,000 square meters (570,000 square feet) of rentable space including offices, shops and a Motel One, according to Strabag’s website.

Timo Haep, a spokesman for Vienna-based Strabag SE’s German unit, confirmed that the company is in talks to sell the property. He wouldn’t comment on potential buyers or the price. A representative at RFR declined to comment.

High-rises are sprouting in Berlin, a city dominated by squat apartment blocks built at the turn of the last century and after World War II. In the former Communist Mitte district, two 150-meter towers, one designed by Frank Gehry, were approved by city planners. Property investors are buying commercial buildings in Berlin to take advantage of jobs growth in the capital of Europe’s largest economy.

Frankfurt’s Eurotower

RFR Group, based in New York, was founded by German-born investors Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs. The company has $10 billion of real estate, including the Eurotower in Frankfurt and the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York, according to its website.

Demand for buildings in Berlin’s western districts is rising as more companies set up businesses there. Last year, Apple Inc. opened its first Berlin store on Kurfuerstendamm, the area’s longest shopping street.

Tenants agreed to rent an additional 270,000 square meters of Berlin office space in the first half, 20 percent more than a year earlier, according to data compiled by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

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