Finally, some good News, maybe this could bring on the same exit of Investments that happened to the Japanese.

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Dubai Exits Helmsley Building
Ruthie Ackerman, 12.26.07, 6:00 PM ET

Goldman Sachs
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Most financial deals these days between the Middle East and the United States involve the purchase of American assets, but on Wednesday, Dubai reversed the flow by cashing out of a New York skyscraper.

Dubai World, the government wealth-management company, said it sold 230 Park Avenue to Goldman Sachs Group (nyse: GSnews people )’s Whitehall Fund and Monday Properties for $1.15 billion, a little over two years after buying the building, which is near New York’s Grand Central Terminal, for $705 million.

The Dubai concern said it bought the property in November 2005 from investor Robert M. Bass. The firm was advised on both the purchase and sale of the building by Andrew L. Farkas, chief executive of Island Capital Group, which had an equity stake in the buidling.

This is the second building Dubai World sold in New York recently. The sale of 230 Park Avenue, known as the Helmsley Building, comes just one month it sold 280 Park Avenue to Broadway Properties in November for $1.4 billion.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai World, said that while the company’s original strategy was to hold onto 230 and 280 Park Avenue for the long term, “we felt that market conditions created an unusual opportunity for us.” “Retaining the agility to change direction when circumstances dictate is important to Dubai World and these transactions demonstrate our ability to do so,” he said.

The Dubai state investment agency planned to sell some properties in London and New York and redeploy some capital to real estate in Asia, its chief investment officer, Yu Lai Boon, said this month.

But Peter Slatin, founder of the real estate newsleter The Slatin Report, said it was generally Dubai World’s strategy to hold onto real estate properties for a long time. “This is not Dubai signaling ‘let’s get out of the U.S.’,” Slatin said. “It’s ‘let’s be more judicious about what we buy here. And let’s make a killing while the killing can be made’.”

Slatin said he thinks Dubai was concerned about the building’s income potential in the long run. “Despite the great views and the enormous refurbishing, it still doesn’t command the rents of the MetLife Building right behind it,” he said.

Still, the building was sold at roughly the going rate for space in the area, and it was not clear why Goldman would be willing to pay that much if there were questions about its profitabilty. Goldman Sachs refused to comment.

Bin Sulayem said that the company remains committed to investing throughout the United States. Dubai World still owns properties in New York, including 450 Lexington Avenue, The W Hotel Union Square, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel and the Knickerbocker on Times Square. It also owns assets globally from British port operator P&O to One Trafalgar Square in London.

The Helmsley Building, formerly controlled by the real estate magnate Harry Helmsley and referred to as “The Jewel of Park Avenue” sits on Park Avenue between 45th and 46th streets, a 34-story office tower with a direct connection with Grand Central Terminal. Properties in that neighborhood are prized by commercial tenants because commuters from Connecticut and New York’s northern suburbs can walk from the station to their offices. Additional service is expected from the Long Island Rail Road, which serves suburbs to the East.

Goldman Sachs has been establishing a presence in Dubai since 2006, when it received a license from the Dubai Financial Services Authority to operate in the Dubai International Centre. At the time, the firm emphasized its commitment to expand in the region, which has become a major financial center as money flows into the region from skyrocketing petroleum exports.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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Posted by mbeaulieu | 12/27/07 07:40 AM EST
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