A New York state judge said that he'll approve a $55 million class action settlement between the owners of the Empire State Building and investors, clearing the way for the creation of a real estate investment trust in a planned $1 billion initial public offering.

Judge O. Peter Sherwood certified a class of 4,500 investors, saying that he intends to approve the settlement, which allows the Malkin family's Malkin Holdings to proceed with plans to convert its ownership stake into a REIT.