CPPIB has bought a minority stake in 1221 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, also known as the McGraw-Hill building. ((Canadian Press))

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board bought its first chunk of Manhattan's skyline Monday.

The CPPIB agreed to pay $663 million for 45-per-cent stakes in two noteworthy New York city office towers.

The fund bought minority stakes in the McGraw-Hill building at 1221 Avenue of the Americas and an office building at 60 Lexington Avenue from SL Green Realty Corp.

The fund had more than $7 billion worth of real estate assets at the end of its most recent fiscal year but, surprisingly, owned none in New York City.

"We believe it is an attractive time to enter the New York market," said Peter Ballon, CPPIB's head of real-estate investments for the Americas.

The McGraw-Hill building is part of the Rockefeller complex and will continue to be run by the original developer, Rockefeller Group International, Inc.

The transactions come at a time when the Canadian dollar is relatively strong, making U.S.-dollar denominated deals less expensive than they were a year ago, and there are signs that the North American economy is reviving.

Last month, CPPIB spent $370 million in a joint venture with Kimco Realty Corp. for stakes in multiple retail and shopping centres across the United States.

CPPIB is the investment arm tasked with managing the funds of more than 17 million Canadian contributors and beneficiaries.