New York’s iconic ‘Flatiron’ skyscraper with its distinctive, early 20th-century architecture, was sold at an auction on Wednesday for $190 million under a municipal court order to settle a dispute between its owners.
Financialist Jacob Garlick, founder of the Abraham Trust investment fund, snapped up the ‘Iron,’ which has been empty since 2019, auctioneer Matthew Mannion of Mannion Auctions confirmed on Thursday to French news agency AFP.
The buyer will have to pay “10 percent of that amount – $19 million – by Friday night or the property will go to the second highest bidder, Jeff Gural, who represented 75% of the owners and offered $189.5 million,” according to Mannion.
The “Flatiron Building” is a 22-storey, 87-metre-high office building located at the intersection of 22nd Street, Fifth Avenue and Broadway in Manhattan’s Midtown neighbourhood.
The recognisable “iron” spike shape that gave it its name is explained by the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, the only avenue in Manhattan that does not line up with the island’s rectilinear plan.
Constructed in two years and completed in 1902, the ‘Flatiron’ was built by a Chicago school architect, Daniel Burnham, in the Beaux-Arts style, like many New York buildings – the massive Grand Central Station, for example.
The loser, Mr Gural, said on local NY1 television that he was “a little shocked” that “somebody would bid so hard for this piece of the city’s heritage.”
“It’s a beautiful building, but it needs $100 million in renovations,” he warned.
“It’s been a dream since I was 14,” the lucky winner, Mr Garlick, gushed on the same channel, pledging to “preserve its integrity forever.”
The ‘Iron’ had been empty since 2019, when its last tenant, MacMillan Publishers, left.
Its five joint owners had not been able to agree on its renovation, nor on its use. Four real estate companies — GFP Real Estate, Newmark, ABS Real Estate Partners and the Sorgente Group — had a 75% stake in the building.
The fifth partner, Nathan Silverstein, owned the remaining 25%.
In 2021, the four companies sued Silverstein, accusing him of leaving the ‘Flatiron’ empty. Silverstein fought back in a New York court, alleging that the other four wanted to lease the skyscraper at a below-market price, according to CNBC television.
The municipal court ordered the five owners to sell it at an auction.