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Citigroup to sell LIC skyscraper for capital

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"We will stay in the building," the spokeswoman said. "We're just taking advantage of a good interest rate environment."She said Citigroup - the largest private employer in New York City with 25,400 employees - is looking for a buyer and expects to sell the 1.4 million-square-foot building by the end of the year. The spokeswoman said the company had not yet found a buyer and she could not say how much Citigroup expects to earn from the sale. It will invest the capital in its marketing technology and other businesses, she said. The sale will get the building "off our balance sheet. It frees up some capital," the spokeswoman said. The office tower at Court Square One, which was built in 1989 for $250 million, is fully occupied by Citigroup and houses 4,800 employees. Later this year the financial services giant will start construction on a $200 million, 475,000-square-foot office tower next door to the Long Island City building at Court Square Two. It will have space for about 1,500 employees. As part of the construction, the company will improve the connection between the G and No. 7 subway lines at Court Square by building an escalator allowing straphangers to walk between the lines underground. Citigroup has leased back space at two locations in Manhattan: its headquarters at 399 Park Avenue and Citigroup Center at 599 Lexington Ave.In 2002, the real estate investment trust Boston Properties Inc. acquired the 1.68 million-square- foot headquarters building for $1.06 billion. The same company bought Citigroup Center, a 59-story, 1.6 million-square-foot complex, for $725 million in 2001. Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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