Former JPMorgan home now a stalled construction site

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The historic building where J. Pierpont Morgan built his banking empire, 23 Wall Street, once a contender for the new home of the New York Stock Exchange, now sits mostly empty after being acquired by a joint Angolan and Chinese venture, the Wall Street Journal reported. China Sonangol International Holding, which has ties both to Angola’s state oil company and reportedly, the Chinese intelligence community, acquired the property from a subsidiary of Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments in late 2008 for $150 million. Africa Israel still manages the property, but its interior renovation is now considered one of the city’s stalled construction sites. Robert K. Futterman, who was hired by Africa Israel to find a tenant for the building in 2006 — major retailers were interested, he said, but none ultimately signed a lease — said that the new owners aren’t aggressively pursuing new tenants and that he doesn’t “even know who to talk to over there.” China Sonangol is weighing whether to hold off on leasing the building until the economy improves, a spokesperson for Africa Israel said. [WSJ]

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