Skip to contentMenu
MembershipOpen SearchPosted inNews
NYC’s Iconic Flatiron Building Is … Headed to Auction?
The sale is a last-resort move to resolve a bitter dispute between the building’s owners.
Aaron Short 6 hours ago
A protracted battle over control of one of New York City’s most iconic buildings will finally be settled at auction later this month. A group of developers will hash out their ownership of the Flatiron Building after a State Supreme Court judge ruled a sale could move forward on March 22 at Mannion Auctions.
Four real estate firms collectively own 75% stake in the 22-story steel-frame skyscraper, while a fifth partner, Nathan Silverstein, owns a 25% stake. GFP Real Estate, Newmark, ABS Real Estate Partners, and the Sorgente Group are angling to dissolve the partnership with Silverstein and force him out of the deal after years of clashes over renovations at the landmarked property.
The four owners sued Silverstein in 2021 to force a partition sale of their stakes, arguing that his business decisions kept the building empty. Silverstein in turn sued Newmark for attempting to lease the building to Knotel, a Newmark-owned flexible office company, for a below-market price. The building remains empty after its last tenant, Macmillan Publishers, moved out in 2019.
The proceeds of the sale of the property at 175 Fifth Avenue will be split among the partners. An opening bid has not yet been set. The auctioneer, Matthew D. Mannion of Mannion Auctions, LLC, confirmed that the sale is public — meaning anyone can bid, and the Flatiron Building is therefore anyone’s to win.
But the majority owners are angling to hold on to the historic structure.
“We’re not going to sell the building, we’re just looking to dissolve the partnership,” GFP Real Estate Chairman Jeffrey Gural told Hyperallergic. “Our plan is hopefully to maintain ownership. We’re going to bid for the 25 percent.”
Silverstein said it was “unfortunate” the parties couldn’t agree on the future of the Flatiron.
“It’s a shame, there’s no reason for it,” he said. “Jeff Gural didn’t want to give up his control over the financial aspect. He wanted to spend what he saw as a substantial amount of money. It’s different viewpoints with people who evidently get upset too quickly.”
Designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Dinkelberg and completed in 1902, the Flatiron building was originally home to the Fuller Company, the construction firm that invented modern skyscrapers.
The triangular tower had been owned by The Equitable Life Assurance Society and then a number of different partnership groups including Harry Helmsley’s Helmsley-Spear and Newmark, before the Italian developer, the Sorgente Group, purchased a majority share in 2009.
The Flatiron’s tenants have been far more stable. In 1969, St. Martin’s Press moved into the Fifth Avenue office building and its parent company, Macmillan Publishers, soon moved into other floors as they became available. For half a century, the quirky tower became the place where editors feted some of the world’s most influential writers and thousands of authors inked their first book deals.
Publishing industry workers loved the Gramercy Park location and the building’s quirky charms, even if its notoriously rickety elevator and its single interior staircase were fire hazards.
“Both the building with its warren-like floor plan and the neighborhood felt cozy,” said Gabrielle Gantz, St. Martin’s Press associate director of publicity. “One of the best neighborhoods I’ve ever worked in and having an iconic address didn’t hurt either.”
If Gural’s GFP Real Estate is able to hold onto the site, he expects to rent it floor-by-floor instead of leasing the entire building to a single tenant. Gural hasn’t been to a property auction before, but he’s not too worried.
“It’s just an auction. We’ll play it by ear,” he said.
Whitney Museum Director Adam Weinberg to Step Down
His tenure was marked by a multitude of controversies, including protests over former trustee Warren Kanders and a grueling labor struggle.
How Can Museums Truly Shake Off Their Colonial Legacy?
Representation alone will not end inequity in art museums.
ArtYard Showcases Art Without Intent in As Is
This exhibition invites viewers to question their notions of beauty, artistry, and materiality. On view in Frenchtown, New Jersey.
What to See in New York This March
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month, including Hew Locke, Saif Azzuz, Miyoko Ito, Shona McAndrew, and more.
Hakim Bishara, Valentina Di Liscia and Daniel Larkin
Dread Scott’s Visual Ballad to Nina Simone
The artist talks to Hyperallergic ahead of his New York exhibition Dread Scott Goddam.
National Public Housing Museum Names Tiff Beatty Associate Director, Welcomes Three New Leaders
The four bring expertise to support the Chicago museum’s mission to promote and propel the right of all people to a place where they can live and prosper.
Grounded in Clay and Moved by Spirit
An exhibition at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, curated by over 60 individual members of 21 tribal communities, paves the way for equitable collaborative possibilities.
God Save Us From These Wax Figures of Kate and Prince William
This settles the matter: We don’t need wax museums.
The Bruce Museum Announces Grand Reopening After $67M Expansion
The new building in Greenwich, CT, triples the space for art and science exhibitions and includes community spaces like an auditorium, café, and education wing.
Mini Roman-Era Sphinx Discovered Near Egyptian Temple
The small statue was recovered from the ruins of a tomb east of the Dendera Temple.
“Extremely Rare” Courbet Found in Basement Goes on View
The 1864 landscape was found in a basement at the University of Pennsylvania Dental School.
Stanford Arts Hosts a Virtual Conversation With Cecilia Alemani and Darren Walker
Part of the university’s “Artists on the Future” series featuring renowned artists and cultural thought leaders, this online event is free and open to the public.
Why Is No One Talking About the Artist-Daughters?
We need more support for the women who have to balance an art practice with caregiving for their ailing parents.
Burn Down the Patriarchy With this Eggplant Emoji Candle
The artwork by Pussy Riot creator Nadya Tolokonnikova is one of several in an auction benefiting reproductive health organizations.
Rhea NayyarTagged:ArchitectureAuctionsFlatironNew York
Aaron Short is a Brooklyn-based journalist covering politics, criminal justice, real estate, the environment, and the arts. His work has appeared in New York Magazine, the New York Post,… More by Aaron Short
- Hirshhorn’s The Exhibit Premieres With Inflatable Banana and Lots of Cringe
- Digital Artists Are Pushing Back Against AI
- Chloé Debuts Line Inspired by Artemisia Gentileschi
- Man Finds Well-Endowed Celtic Bronze Figurine
- A Brush With the Californian Sublime
- ArtYard Showcases Art Without Intent in As Is
- National Public Housing Museum Names Tiff Beatty Associate Director, Welcomes Three New Leaders
- The Bruce Museum Announces Grand Reopening After $67M Expansion
- Stanford Arts Hosts a Virtual Conversation With Cecilia Alemani and Darren Walker
- Uncommon Denominator: Nina Katchadourian at the Morgan
- 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival Features 108 Films From 33 Countries
- Miami’s Fountainhead Residency Presents The Yearbook: 2022
Hyperallergic is a forum for serious, playful, and radical thinking about art in the world today. Founded in 2009, Hyperallergic is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.
Leave a Reply