An iconic New York building was auctioned off and this is the story behind it

Few tourists leave New York without photographing one of its most iconic and special buildings, the Flatiron Building, oblivious to the disputes between its owners, who had to auction it off by court order


Jacob Garlick, founding partner of the Abraham Trust investment fund, was awarded the Flatiron Building on Wednesday after offering $190 million for this prow-shaped 22-story building, located at the confluence of 5th Avenue, Broadway, and the street 22 Midtown Manhattan.  Buyers “will have to pay 10% of that amount -19 million- at the latest tomorrow (Friday)” to secure the sale, Matthew Mannion of the Mannion auction house told AFP.


If not, it will go to the second bidder, Jeffrey Gural, one of the former owners, whose last bid was $189.5 million after a fast-paced 45-minute auction in which each bid rose half a million dollars.  “To tell you the truth, I was a bit surprised,” said Gural, who “never thought someone would bid so much for this piece of city heritage. It’s a beautiful building, but it needs 100 million dollars in renovations,” he assured the local network NY1 after the auctioneer lowered his gavel.


“It’s been a dream since I was 14 years old,” a jubilant Garlick told the same network.  “Our life’s mission will be to preserve its integrity forever,” added the investor. Designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, the Flatiron had been empty since 2019 when its last tenant, the MacMillan Publishers company, left, occupying the entire building.


The five owners had not been able to agree on its renovation or its use. Four real estate companies—GFP Real Estate, Newmark, ABS Real Estate Partners, and the Sorgente Group—controlled 75% ownership of one of Manhattan’s first skyscrapers, completed in 1902. The fifth partner, Nathan Silverstein, controlled the remaining 25%. In 2021, the four companies sued Silverstein in court, holding him responsible for the fact that the Flatiron remained empty.


Silverstein in turn sued them alleging that they wanted to rent the building at less than market rate to a company related to one of the owners, according to CNBC.


The future owner will now have to decide the use – offices, hotel, luxury homes? – that he will give this beautiful but impractical building, according to experts, as it has a shape that makes part of the interior of one of vertices of the triangle is very narrow and practically useless.