Manhattan’s iconic Flatiron Building sold for $161.5 at an auction on the steps of the New York County Courthouse yesterday. Jeffrey Gural, Chairman of GFP Real Estate, which owns 60 properties across the city, made the winning bid. GFP, alongside Sorgente Group and ABS Partners, owned 75 percent of the building prior to the auction, and nearly won the property’s first auction two months ago.
As AN previously reported, the building went to auction following a State Supreme Court judge’s order due to the ownership consortium’s inability to come to an agreement on the building’s much needed renovations, and future tenants. Jacob Garlick, managing partner at investment firm Abraham Trust, purchased the Flatiron for $190 million on March 22 at the first auction. Garlick, who was the odd one out in an auction of large players in New York real estate, failed to place a court-ordered $19 million down payment on the purchase two days later. Gural, who then had the option to purchase the building for $189.5 million (his highest bid at the first auction), declined, leading to the second auction. In the meantime, the building’s current owners sued Garlick over the down payment, or rather lack thereof.
At yesterday’s proceedings, four other bidders donned numbered paddles to compete with Gural—including a fifth who was unregistered and deemed ineligible to bid. The back-and-forth bidding proceeded without issue until just after the gavel was hit, when Paul Gottsegen, representing 184 Broadway Equities LLC, began cursing out Gural, saying that he didn’t have the certified $100,000 check that was required to be handed over to auctioneer Matthew Mannion following the winning bid. Gottsegen told Gural that he would see him in court, continued to yell as he and an associate proceeded down the courthouse steps, and was asked to leave by police officers. Despite Gottsegen’s claim that Gural didn’t have the check the auction referee confirmed that Gural had one and it was submitted when the auction concluded.
After the auction, Gural told reporters that he wanted to convert “at least half” of the building to residential use, and lamented the city’s lengthy permitting processes for commercial to residential conversions.
Gural now has two business days to place the full 10 percent deposit that Garlick failed to back in March.
AN will continue to follow Flatiron news, including potential plans to convert it to residential use.