The iconic Flatiron Building is going to auction

In an effort to help resolve a dispute among its current owners, the iconic Flatiron Building in midtown Manhattan is officially going to auction on March 22. The decision is the result of a recent judgment by the State Supreme Court.

As of now, 75% of the landmark is owned by GFP Real Estate, Newmark, Sorgente Croup and ABS Real Estate Partners. Nathan Silverstein owns the remaining 25% of the property, according to The Real Deal.

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Back in 2021, the former group of partners sued Silverstein in the hopes of securing a partition sale, citing the latter’s poor business decisions that, they claim, have kept the building vacant for a long time, according to the site.

Silverstein, for his part, sued the other partners on similar grounds, suggesting they did not try and get the space leased out properly, the Real Deal says.

Given the structure of ownership, any partner basically has veto power over the faith of the property, rendering the entire situation even more complicated—hence the court’s decision to put the building up for auction. According to The Real Deal, the proceeds of the sale will be split among the partners based on their current stakes.

Originally dubbed the Fuller Building, the 22-story tower at 175 Fifth Avenue has come to define the Flatiron District in Manhattan that it calls home. As New Yorkers are well aware, the moniker is inspired by the structure’s triangular, iron-like shape. 

Originally, when it opened back in 1902, the address functioned as the headquarters of the construction firm Fuller Company. In 1925, the company sold the building to an investment syndicate.

It was designated a landmark in 1966. The Landmarks Preservation Commission document, described it thus:

“Whether seen at night, reflected in the glistening pavement during a thundershower, or fighting for its life in a blizzard, it has a quality of directional motion with its prowlike mass towering above the beholder. To the New York of 1902 this building represented the very essence of modernity.”

Fast-forward to the late 1990s, when the ownership was divided among partners and the building eventually went under renovation. 

The last tenant to call the Flatiron Building home was Macmillan, the British publishing giant, but all 21 office floors were vacant by June of 2019. As of November of 2020, the entire structure was left empty and renovations began. Clearly, the priority at the moment is to fill up the iconic space once more. 

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