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Jacob Garlick Wins Flatiron Building with $190 Million Bid

On Wednesday, prospective bidders assembled on the steps of the Manhattan County Courthouse to participate in the auctioning process of the historic Flatiron Building. As the dust settled, Jacob Garlick’s Abraham Trust beat one of the property’s previous owners — Jeffrey Gural of GFP Real Estate — following a $190 million bid. Matthew Mannion of Mannion Auctions was the auctioneer.

The 14-story Manhattan office tower had been jointly owned by five companies: GFP Real Estate, Newmark, Sorgente Group, ABS Partners Real Estate and Nathan Silverstein. Then, when the property’s longtime anchor tenant, MacMillan Publishers, moved out in 2017, the owners had conflicting views about the future of the 120-year-old building.

The idea of an $80 million renovation was put forth, but Silverstein countered with a proposal to break up the building into five individually owned units. There were also talks about a possible hotel conversion. Eventually, improvements efforts led by Beyer Blinder Belle kicked off in 2019 and included updates to the existing lobby, upgrades to the AC system, façade changes, and a revised ground-floor retail frontage.

However, tensions between the various parties continued and later resulted in the partition auction, in which Garlick swooped in with the winning bid. This was somewhat of a surprise to the previous owners, as they were hoping to use their existing stakes to place a “credit bid” on the property.

Originally built in 1901 as the first skyscraper north of 14th Street, the Flatiron Building had been auctioned off before: In 1933, during the Great Depression, the owners at that time defaulted on a mortgage.

Ultimately, the Flatiron will likely continue to be used as office space. That said, there are also plans to reconstruct an entrance to a previously unused retail and restaurant space in the property’s basement.

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