$660M Empire State Building funds jumpstart Helmsley trust

November 04, 2013 10:14AM

A charitable trust endowed by the former part owners of the Empire State Building will receive about $660 million from the Empire State Realty Trust’s initial public offering, and is looking to make big-ticket donations with the funds.

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, which currently has an endowment of $4.1 billion, will use the IPO proceeds to fund a myriad of causes, such as diabetes research and educational grants for at-risk children. The trust has been planning for the cash influx by tripling its employees in less than two years and expanding its focus from New York City to the entire country.

Indeed, the trust will shell out $255 million in the fiscal year that began in April, representing a 20 percent year-over-year increase, sources told Crain’s.

“The IPO wasn’t a surprise,” John Ettinger, the CEO of the trust, told Crain’s. “We’d spent a lot of time thinking about how we would allocate the funds.”

The Empire State Building is valued at about $1.89 billion in the REIT, considerably less than what investors had been willing to pay for it in the open market, as The Real Deal reported. [Crain’s]  – Hiten Samtani